Skip to main content

Full text of "Significant Trade in Wildlife: a review of selected species in CITES Appendix II. Volume 2: reptiles and invertebrates"

See other formats


Significant Trade in Wildlife 



A Review of Selected Species 
in Cites Appendix II 



Volume 2: Reptiles and Invertebrates 




Compiled by lUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 



SIGNIFICANT TRADE IN WILDLIFE: 
A REVIEW OF SELECTED SPECIES IN CITES APPENDIX II 



COMMERCE IMPORTANT DES ESPECES SAUVAGES: ENQUETE AU SUJET 
DE CERTAINES ESPECES INSCRITES A L'ANNEXE II DE LA CITES 



COMMERCIO SIGNIFICATIVO DE VIDA SILVESTRE: ESTUDIO DE 
DETERMINADAS ESPECIES INCLUIDAS EN EL APPENDICE II DE CITES 

VOLUME 2: REPTILES AND INVERTEBRATES 
VOLUME 2: REPTILES ET INVERTEBRES 
VOLUMEN 2: REPTILES E INVERTEBRES 



Edited by Public par Publicado por 

Richard Luxmoore, Brian Groombridge and Steven Broad. 

lUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre, 219c Huntingdon Road, Cambridge, UK. 

1988 

International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources 

Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species 

of Wild Fauna and Flora 



A joint publication of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and 
Natural Resources (lUCN), Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK and the 
Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of 
Wild Fauna and Flora, Lausanne, Switzerland. 
1988. 



The publishers acknowledge the financial support of the governments of Canada, 
Denmark, Federal Republic of Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and 
the United States of America and of WWF-USA, WWF-Switzerland, Pet Industries 
Joint Advisory Council. 

This report was prepared under contract to the Secretariat of the Convention 
on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora by lUCN 
Conservation Monitoring Centre, which is supported by the United Nations 
Environment Programme and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). 

(£) 1988. International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural 
Resources and the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in 
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. 



ISBN 2-88032-95A-X 



Printed in Canada by the Canadian CITES Management Authority (Canadian 
Wildlife Service), Ottawa. 



Cover photo: Python molurus WWF/Romulus Whitaker 



The designations of the geographical entities in this book and the 
presentation of the material do not imply the expression of any opinion 
whatsoever on the part of lUCN or the CITES Secretariat concerning the legal 
status of any country, territory, or area, or of its authorities, or 
concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. 



The views of the authors expressed in this publication do not necessarily 
reflect those of lUCN or the CITES Secretariat. 



ACKWOWLEDGKMEWTS 

This report was prepared with the assistance of many of the staff at lUCN 
Conservation Monitoring Centre. The first drafts of the species accounts were 
written by the following authors: 
Brian Groombridge Geochelone chllensls , Testudo spp., CrocodyJus spp., 

VAxemus spp.. Python spp., 
Diana Evans Geochelone pardalls, Malacochersus tornlerl , Phelsuma 

spp., Chamaeleo spp. 
Richard Luxmoore Podocnemls expansa. Caiman crocodllus , Iguana Iguana, 

Dracaena gulanensls, Tuplnaiabls spp.. Boa 

constrictor , Bunectes spp. 
Mark. Collins Ornlthoptera spp. 
Sue Wells Papustyla pulcherrlma, Clrrhlpathes angulna. 

Tim Inskipp was responsible for the over-all co-ordination of the contract and 
assisted with the literature research. John Caldwell produced the basic trade 
tabulations from the Wildlife Trade Monitoring Unit computerised database. 
Wendy Coombes and Andrew Desforges carried out much of the analysis of the 
CITES trade data. The accounts for Geochelone chllensls , Malacochersus 
tornlerl, Testudo graeca, Testudo hermannl , Podocnemls expansa, Caiman 
crocodllus , Crocodylus n. novaegulneae and Crocodylus porosus were based 
on the accounts written for the lUCN Amphibia-Reptilia Red Data Book, Part 1, 
Testudines, Crocodylia, Rhynchocephalia. 

We should like to thank all those who responded to requests for information 
sent out by ourselves and the CITES Secretariat,, and to those who reviewed 
the earlier drafts of this report. They include: M. Abu Jafar, R.T. Adams, 
W. Aguilar, J.B. Alvarez, S. Ambu, P. A. Anadu, R.D. Auerbach, W. Auffenberg, 
T. Belokapova, J.M. de Benito, E. Bennett, H.A. Bereteh, S.S. Bist, Q. Bloxam, 
Bodiopelli, E. Boomker, L. Bortolotti, D.M. Botello, D.G. Broadley, 
W.Y. Brockelman, S.D. Budd, A. A. Burbidge, P. Butler, G. Ceballos, 
M.K. Cheung, Chew Hong, P.B. Clark, J. A. Cranwell, J. A. Crespo, G. Davison, 
P.G. Diaz, R. Dipouma, F. Djedjo, C. Dudley, Dr Fischer, H.S. Fitch, 
A.S. Gardner, A. Gaski , E. Ghamba, E.O. Gonzalez Ruiz, P. Gopalakrishnakone, 
S. Gorzula, A. Haynes , J. Hebrard, G. Hemley, M.S. Hoogmoed, K. Howell, 
J. P. d'Huart, R.F. Inger, T. Jalel, C.J. Kalden, B.H. Kiew, W. King, 
A.D. Mackay, W.E. Hagnusson, M. Mamane, E.J. Martinez, C.T. Masina, 
R.M. Mitchell, D. Momo, J.V. Morales Molina, J. A. Mortimer, J.R. Navas, 
W.P. Ntsekhe, F.H.O. Opolot, J. A. Ottenwalder, J.D. Ovington, A.W. Owadally, 
J.T. Palazzo, A.L. Peal, D. Perry, P.C.H. Pritchard, M. Romero Pastor, Rubini 
Atmawidjaja, N.M. Sarker, F. Serracino-Inglott , K. Shirazi, M.P. Simbotwe, 
P. Singsouriya, A. Stimson, I. Swingland, Syafii Manan, J. Thomson, R. Thorpe, 
E. Vallester, M. Vinas, H. Watson, D. Werner, Yang Peng Hwa, 



Digitized by the Internet Arciiive 

in 2010 witii funding from 

UNEP-WCIVIC, Cambridge 



http://www.arcliive.org/details/significanttrade02luxm 



IWTRODUCTIOW 

Baclmround 

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and 
Flora (CITES) was drawn up in 1973 to control trade in wildlife. It does so 
by affording to species either of primarily two levels of protection. Those 
species (or smaller geographical populations) which are threatened with 
extinction are listed in Appendix I, and are thereby banned from international 
commerce under most circumstances. Species which are not currently threatened 
with extinction, but which may become so unless their trade is regulated, are 
listed in Appendix II. Such species may be traded internationally, but 
nations must ensure that the levels of trade do not endanger the remaining 
wild populations. This requirement is expressed formally in the text of the 
Convention in Article IV, paragraph 2a, which demands that the authorities In 
exporting countries must have advised that the export of specimens of such a 
species "will not be detrimental to the survival of that species". Article 
IV, paragraph 3 indicates that the trade in a species "should be limited in 
order to maintain the species throughout Its range and at a level consistent 
with its role in the ecosystem in which it occurs and well above the level at 
which that species might become eligible for Inclusion in Appendix I". The 
authorities in the exporting country must monitor the exports and take steps 
to limit them whenever they determine it to be necessary. 

At the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES, held in 1983 
in Gaborone, Botswana, it was recognised that many countries exporting 
Appendix II wildlife were unable, on their own, to determine whether the 
levels of trade were having a detrimental effect on the wild populations. 
Therefore it was recommended (CITES Resolution Conf. 4.7) that the CITES 
Technical Committee should provide assistance by identifying those Appendix II 
species which were currently being traded internationally in significant 
quantities, but for which there was insufficient scientific information on the 
capacity of the species to withstand such levels of trade to satisfy "the 
requirements of Article IV, paragraph 3, of the Convention as determined by 
the range states". It was recommended that once the species of particular 
concern had been Identified, the Technical Committee, together with the range 
states involved, importing states and organisations experienced in the 
management of wildlife, "develop and negotiate measures required to ensure 
that continued trade in these species is within the terms of Article IV, 
paragraph 3". 

Initial discussions of the means by which the Technical Committee could 
identify those species of particular concern (as recommended by Resolution 
Conf. 4.7) were based on the premise that a high volume of trade was 
sufficient evidence alone to justify concern. However, an unpublished report 
produced in 1984 by WTMU for the CITES Secretariat, on the perception of the 
issue of high trade-volume, came to the following conclusions: 

The concept of high trade-volume may be approached In two ways: high 
volume may be considered in absolute terms (i.e. large numbers), or in 
relative terms (i.e. large numbers in relation to the population and 
biology of the species). 

Absolute high trade-volume does not alone have any bearing on whether a 
species is threatened by trade. However, species traded in high absolute 
numbers are likely to be of considerable ecological significance. 

Relative high trade-volume is of direct relevance to the survival of the 
species Involved, but there is no evidence that this is correlated with 
absolute high trade-volume. By virtue of their designation on the 

ili 



Appendices, trade in all CITES-llsted species is of concern, and should be 
monitored. 

Consideration of absolute high trade-volume as a major criterion for 
selecting species for special attention is thus not only irrelevant in 
terms of species conservation, but may divert attention from more 
Important cases. 

The Technical Committee Working Group on Significant Trade in Appendix II 
Species produced a paper, based on its meeting in Switzerland in December 
1984, which aimed to formulate a procedure or course of action to enable the 
Technical Committee to fulfil the recommendations of Resolution Conf. 4.7. It 
was decided that the Group should restrict its attention to fauna, as a Plant 
Working Group was already in existence. The conclusions of the WTMU report on 
high trade-volume were endorsed, in that the Working Group agreed that it was 
not possible to identify those Appendix II taxa of greatest concern on the 
basis of trade data alone. Information on biological status, population 
trends and a whole range of other factors was needed in order to assess 
properly the impact of the trade in those taxa. 

A five-part procedure was established as the most appropriate mechanism for 
implementing Resolution Conf. 4.7. This plan was presented to the fifth 
meeting of the Conference of the Parties which was held at Buenos Aires, 
Argentina in 1985 (Doc. 5.26). Steps 1-3 have already been carried out. 

Step 1 : Production of list "A" 

It was acknowledged that, with a very few exceptions, all taxa listed in 
Appendix II should be able to withstand some degree of exploitation for 
international trade. The Working Group chose an arbitrary "safe" level of 
trade for any such taxon of an average of 100 individuals taken from the 
wild (globally) and entering trade per year. By eliminating all taxa 
traded at a level within that considered "safe", a list of "potential 
candidate" taxa could be produced (List "A"). These taxa were defined as 
those that might be the subject of significant international trade. 

List A was prepared by WTMU on the basis of average trade volume over the 
period 1980-1982. Figures relating to live specimens (excluding those 
recorded as captive-bred), whole or substantially whole skins, skin 
flanks/sides, furskin plates, shells, trophies and other worked material 
were included in the analysis. Species never recorded in trade, with the 
exception of those included in Appendix II as part of a higher taxon or 
for look-alike reasons, were listed separately in order that consideration 
could be given to their deletion from the Appendices. 

Step 2 : Production of list "B" 

The Working Group agreed that some taxa might be eliminated from 
consideration as "significant trade" species on the basis of knowledge 
readily available to the Group regarding their status. After this 
process, the remaining taxa constituted list "B", which contained those 
taxa which could be classified as a "possible problem". In addition, two 
species ITuplnambls rufescens and Papustyla pulchertlna) were added to 
this list under special circumstances where there was evidence of a 
problem despite only a low volume of trade being recorded. 

Step 3 : Production of list "C" 

The next phase in the procedure was to assess the information available 
for each of the species in list "B", and to eliminate those species which 

iv 



were, on the basis of expert luiowledge, luiokm not to be a problem. This 
part of the operation entailed the collection of information on as many 
aspects of each species as possible and the assessment of the impact of 
the Icnown trade on the Icnown population. The Working Group agreed that 
for each species the global situation should be of paramount importance, 
but that if a species were apparently being affected by trade on a 
national or regional scale, this fact should be noted in an addendum to 
the list. List "C" was to be divided into two groups: those species for 
which current information or Icnowledge of their biology and/or management 
indicated that the population was being detrimentally affected by 
international trade (List 1), and those species for which there is 
insufficient information available on which to base such a judgement (List 
2). 

Step it : Development of remedial measures 

The Technical Committee, or a working group of the Technical Committee, 
was to examine the lists "1" and "2" and establish priorities within each 
list. For species of high priority in list "1", workshops were to be 
convened to formulate recommendations for remedial measures. Such 
measures would include, but not necessarily be limited to: preparing 
proposals for transfer to Appendix I; establishment of additional 
management procedures both for wild populations (hunting quotas, seasons, 
size limits, etc.) and for trade controls (such as export quotas); and 
listing of taxa for look-alike reasons. 

For species of high priority in list "2", projects were to be established 

to collect information on the biology and management of the species. 

Where such information indicated the need, the species were to be 

transferred to list "1". 

Step 5 : Implementation of remedial measures 

The remedial measures Identified were to be carried out by the range 
states involved on the basis of the recommendations arising from the 
workshops . 

This five-step procedure was approved at the Buenos Aires meeting in 1985 and 
steps 1-3 were Implemented by the lUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre. List 
"C" was prepared in time for the second meeting of the Technical Committee, 
held in June 1986 in Lausanne, Switzerland. For each species in list "C", a 
draft report was prepared presenting a summary of all available information, 
including a detailed analysis of available trade data and information on the 
population status and other factors thought to be of relevance. On the basis 
of this Information, each species was assigned to the two recommended lists 
(list 1, problem species; list 2, possible problems). At this stage it was 
also discovered that some species, originally included in list "C", were 
probably not being significantly affected by the current levels of trade. 
These were assigned to a third group (list 3, no problem). The Significant 
Trade Working Group reviewed the information provided by CMC and the suggested 
listings, and made a number of recommendations for further action which are 
outlined below. The Technical Committee also decided that, after further 
review, the report prepared by CMC should be published. 

Further action 

The Significant Trade Working Group presented a paper at the second Technical 
Committee meeting outlining proposals for further action (WGR.TEC. 2.2). The 
recommendations of this report, some of which were amended at the Technical 
Committee meeting, are detailed below for the reptile species involved. 



List 1 (4 taia) 

Podocnemls Bxpansa The international trade data are probably greatly 
exaggerated as a result of false identification. The Secretariat should 
notify the Parties of current trade bans, and Venezuela will consider 
developing a proposal to transfer the species to Appendix I bearing in mind 
the possible insignificance of international trade. 

CAlman crocodllus The problem is being addressed by the Secretariat's 
project in Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay and the results of this study should 
be useful in the establishment of appropriate quotas. Funding for the second 
project (Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela) is needed. Studies of the population 
status in Central America should be considered. Historical trade data 
including numbers and sizes of skins should be collected and analysed. Where 
the species is legally exploited, national harvest quotas should be 
established. 

Geochelone chllensls Management action already taken by Argentina is 
considered adequate. 

Tuplnambls spp. Steps are being taken by Argentina to review their harvest 
quotas. Illegal trade may continue to be a problem and the Secretariat should 
assess the 1984/85 trade statistics, identify any importing countries 
permitting trade from exporting countries with export bans and request that 
the necessary action be taken to halt this problem. The Nomenclature 
Committee should clarify the taxonomy. 

List 2 (17 taxa) 

The Working Group recommended that the following taxa should receive attention 
as priority species or groups of species for the collection of information (in 
order of importance): 

1. Asian Varanidae (three species, i.e. Varanus salvator and the Appendix I 
species V. bengalensls and V. flavescens) . 

2. Asian pythons (three species, i.e. Python curtus, P. molurus 
blvlttatus and P. retlculatus) . 

3. African monitor lizards (two species, i.e. Varanus exanthematlcus and 
V. nllotlcus) - noting that the project should concentrate on aspects 
necessary to assess the levels of exploitation that the species can 
sustain. 

4. South American Boidae (three species, i.e. Boa constrictor, Eunectes 
murlnus and E. notaeus) . 

5. Papustyla pulcherrlma. 

In addition the Group made the following special recommendations: 

Dracaena gulanensls The Parties having populations of Dracaena spp. 
should clarify the situation with respect to distribution and consider listing 
Dracaena spp. in Appendix II. 

Crocodylus porosus The lUCN/SSC Crocodile Specialist Group should be asked 
urgently to review the management programme for this species in the light of 
the recent Indonesian report. 



vi 



List 3 (15 taxa) 

It was agreed that available information indicated that these taxa were 
essentially unaffected by international trade. 



METHODS 

This report comprises the review of the biological and trade status of species 
included in list "C". It was carried out by the lUCN Conservation Monitoring 
Centre under contract to the CITES Secretariat over the period September 1985 
to April 1986. As a first step, the CITES Secretariat circulated a request 
for information to all of the countries in which the species occurred, 
contacting the CITES Management Authorities in the countries party to CITES 
and designated wildlife management or equivalent authorities in others. The 
responses to this request were passed to CMC and are referenced in the 
following format: Name of country CITES MA, 1987. Comments received frcm 
wildlife management authorities in non-Party states are referenced by the name 
of the government department involved. Information was also solicited from 
relevant specialists (individuals or agencies), and amongst the major sources 
were the specialist groups of the lUCN Species Survival Commission. Trade 
organisations and other interested parties were also approached. A draft 
report was presented to the 2nd meeting of the CITES Technical Committee in 
June 1986. This report was discussed and amended by the Committee and review 
copies were again circulated by the CITES Secretariat to all range states and 
interested parties, including the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council. Final 
modifications to the text and recent trade data were added by CMC during 1987. 

In a small number of cases the designation of category of a species at the 
time of the second Technical Committee meeting has subsequently been amended 
in the light of new information, in particular the 1985 trade data which have 
been added to the reports. 

Information was collected and collated under the following headings: 
distribution; population; habitat and ecology; threats to survival; 
international trade; conservation measures; and captive breeding. 

CITES trade data were analysed for the years 1980 to 1985 using the Annual 
Reports of Parties to the Convention for which the statistics are held on 
computer at CMC. These data contain records of imports and exports of species 
listed in the CITES Appendices and of their products. They contain 
information on the species involved, a description of the type and quantity of 
product and, in the case of imports, the exporter or re-exporter and primary 
source country, and, for exports, the destination and original source. For 
trade between two CITES Parties, each transaction should therefore be reported 
twice, once by the importer and once by the exporter. As suggested by the 
Significant Trade Working Group, the analysis was largely restricted to trade 
in live animals and unworked products, however, in a small number of 
exceptional cases worked products were included. 

Various problems impair the value of CITES trade data in the assessment of 
levels of world trade. For example: not all trading nations are CITES 
Parties; not all CITES Parties produce annual reports; and the reports of 
those that do, vary in quality and regularity of submission. Some countries 
may report the number of specimens covered by the permits issued, while others 
report the actual number for which the permit was used. Furthermore exports 
from a country at the end of one year may arrive in the importing country 
early in the next and in such cases it is possible that the same transaction 
may be recorded in the trade tables for both years. These factors and others 
have to be taken into account when analysing CITES data, but for most species 



vii 



these statistics are the only detailed source of information on their 
international trade and generally CITES reports are of great value in 
assessing approximate levels of legal trade, the geographical patterns in 
such trade and the trends in volume and commodity preference over time. 

In most cases the trade data are presented, in the following accounts, in two 
tables. The first (usually Table 1) details the net imports of importing 
countries, the total of which gives an estimate of the minimum volume of world 
trade for each year. The second (usually Table 2) shows the origin, or where 
no origin was given, the exporter, of specimens in trade. When specimens have 
been exported to an intermediate country and subsequently re-exported, the 
minimum net trade was calculated, ensuring that the numbers were only recorded 
once. The table therefore shows, for each year, the minimum number of items 
in trade from each country of origin. However, because some items may be 
re-exported without the country of origin being specified, they may be 
recorded twice in Table 2. The totals are therefore usually higher than those 
in Table 1. 



viii 



INTRODUCTIOW 
Informations K6n6rales 

La Convention sur le convnerce international des esp^ces de faune et de flore 
sauvages menac^es d'eztinction (CITES) a 4te 41abor^e, en 1973, pour contr61er 
le commerce des especes de faune et de flore sauvages. Elle agit en off rant k 
ces especes deux niveauz principauz de protection. Les especes (ou de plus 
petites populations g^ographiquement isol^es) qui sont menac6es d'eztinction 
sont inscritent k I'Anneze I, ce qui signifie que leur commerce international 
est interdit dans la plupart des cas. Les especes qui ne sont pas actuellement 
menacees d'eztinction, mais qui pourraient le devenir si leur commerce n'^tait 
pas r^glement^, sont inscritent a I'Anneze II. Le commerce international de 
ces dernieres especes est autoris^, 4 condition que les pays s'assurent que le 
volume du commerce ne mette pas en danger la survie des populations sauvages 
restantes. Cette ezigence est formellement 6nonc6e 4 I'Article IV, 
paragraphe 2 a, du tezte de la Convention, qui pr^voit que les autorit^s des 
pays d' ezportation 4mettent I'avis que 1 'ezportation de specimens de ces 
especes "ne nuit pas a la survie de I'espece int^ress^e". Le paragraphe 3 de 
I'Article IV indique que le commerce d'une esp4ce "devrait etre limits pour la 
conserver dans toute son aire de distribution, 4 un niveau qui soit 4 la fois 
conforme 4 son r&le dans les 6cosyst4mes oil elle est pr^sente, et nettement 
sup^rieur 4 celui qui entrainerait 1' inscription de cette esp^ce 4 
I'Anneze I". Les autorit^s des pays d'ezportation doivent surveiller les 
ezportations de fafon continue et prendre les mesures qui s'imposent pour les 
limiter lorsqu'elles le jugent n^cessaire. 

Lors de la quatrieme session de la Conference des Parties 4 la CITES, tenue en 
1983 4 Gaborone, Botswana, il fut reconnu que maints pays ezportateurs 
d'especes de faune et de flore sauvages figurant 4 I'Anneze II 4taient dans 
1' incapacity de determiner par euz-memes si les niveauz de commerce avaient un 
effet nuisible sur les populations sauvages. C'est pourquoi, il fut recomnande 
(resolution CITES Conf. 4.7) que le Comite technique de la CITES assiste ces 
pays en identifiant les esp4ces de I'Anneze II faisant actuellement I'objet 
d'un commerce international important, mais pour lesquelles, selon I'avis des 
Etats de I'aire de repartition, les donnees scientif iques portant sur leur 
capacite 4 supporter le commerce 4 un tel niveau sont insuf f isantes au regard 
des exigences de I'Article IV, paragraphe 3, de la Convention. Il fut 
recommande que, une fois les especes presentant un interet particulier 
identifiees, le Comite technique, en collaboration avec les Etats da I'aire de 
repartition interesses, les Etats importateurs et les organisations ayant une 
ezperience en gestion de la faune et de la flore sauvages, "mette au point et 
negocie les mesures necessaires pour assurer le maintien du commerce continu 
de ces especes dans les limites prevues 4 I'Article IV, paragraphe 3, de la 
Convention". 

Les discussions initlales sur les moyens 4 utillser par le Comite technique 
pour identifier les especes representant un interet particulier (selon la 
recommandation de la resolution Conf. 4.7) ont ete fondees sur le principe 
qu'un volume de commerce important est, 4 lui seul, une indication suffisante 
pour justifier un interet. Toutefois, un rapport non publi6, produit en 1984 
par le WTMU pour le Secretariat CITES et traitant de la maniere dont 11 
percevait la question du volume important du commerce, parvenait auz 
conclusions suivantes: 

- Le concept du volume important du commerce peut etre aborde de deux 
manieres: un important volume peut etre considere en terme absolu (aolt de 
grandes quantites) ou en terme relatlf (soit de grandes quantites par 
rapport 4 la population et 4 la biologie de I'espece). 

Iz 



Un important volume de conmerce, au sens absolu du terme, n'a pas en soi 
de rapport avec le fait qu'une espdce soit menacee ou non par le commerce. 
Toutefois, il est probable que les esp^ces dont de grandes guantit^s de 
specimens, en terme absolu, sont commercialisms aient une importance 
^cologique considerable. 

- Un important volume de comnerce, au sens relatif du terme, a un rapport 
direct avec la survie de I'espece en question, mais rien ne prouve qu'il y 
ait correlation avec un important volume de commerce au sens absolu du 
terme. Le seul fait que ces especes soient inscrites aux annexes k la 
CITES signifie que leur commerce est motif 4 preoccupation et qu'il 
devrait faire I'objet d'une surveillance continue. 

Considerer un important volume de commerce au sens absolu du terme comme 
critere majeur de selection des especes n^cessitant une attention 
particuli^re est done non seulement hors de propos en ce qui concerne la 
conservation des especes mais, qui plus est, risquerait de distraire 
1* attention de cas plus importants. 

Le Groupe de travail du Comite technique sur le commerce important d'especes 
de I'Annexe II a eiabor4 un document, fonde sur sa session tenue en Suisse en 
decembre 1984, session dont I'objectif etait de formuler une procedure ou une 
ligne de conduite permettant au Comite technique de reroplir ses obligations au 
titre des recommandations de la resolution Conf. 4.7. II fut decide que le 
groupe devait limiter ses discussions k la faune en raison de I'existence d'un 
Groupe de travail sur les plantes. Les conclusions du rapport du WTHU sur le 
volume important du commerce furent endossees, en ce sens que le groupe de 
travail convint qu'il n'etait pas possible d' identifier les taxons les plus 
preoccupants de I'Annexe II sur la base des seules donnees commerciales . Des 
informations sur I'etat biologique des taxons, sur les tendances de leurs 
populations et sur toute une serie d'autres facteurs sont necessaires pour 
evaluer correctement I'effet du commerce sur ces taxons. 

Une procedure en cinq etapes, constituant le mecanisme le plus favorable pour 
I'application de la resolution Conf. 4.7, fut etablie. Ce plan d'action fut 
presente 4 la cinquieme session de la Conference des Parties qui eut lieu k 
Buenos Aires, Argentine, en 1985 (document Doc. 5.26). Les etapes 1 a 3 ont 
deja ete realisees. 

lere etape : Production de la liste "A" 

II fut reconnu que, k tcks peu d'exceptions pr6s, on peut raisonnablement 
assumer que tous les taxons inscrits k I'Annexe II peuvent supporter un 
certain niveau d'exploitation pour le commerce international. Le groupe de 
travail choisit un niveau de commerce arbitraire et "sflr" pour tout tazon, 
soit en moyenne 100 individus preieves dans la nature (globalement) et 
entrant dans le commerce chaque annee . En eiiminant tous les taxons dont 
le commerce etait considere d'un niveau "sOr", une liste de taxons 
"candidats potentiels" (liste "A") put alors etre etablie. Ces taxons sont 
d6finis comme etant ceux qui peuvent faire I'objet d'un commerce 
international important. 

La liste A a ete etablie par le WTMU sur la base d'un volume de commerce 
moyen couvrant la periode 1980-1982. Les chiffres ayant trait aux 
specimens vivants (sauf les specimens enregistres en tant qu'eieves en 
captivite), aux peaux entidres ou substantiellement entiires, aux f lanes, 
aux nappes de peaux, aux carapaces, aux trophees et k d'autres articles 
travailies ont 6te inclus dans cette analyse. Les especes qui n'ont jamais 
ete enregistrees dans le commerce, k I'exception de celles inscrites k 
I'Annexe II en tant que partie d'un taxon superieur ou pour des raisons de 



ressemblance , ont 6t6 4nuin4r6es s^par^ment en vue de leur ^ventuelle 
Elimination des annexes. 

2e 6tape : Production de la liste "B" 

Le groupe de travail convint que, sur la base des connaissances dont le 
groupe pouvait disposer aisEment au sujet de leur etat, certains taxons ne 
devaient plus etre consid^r^s congne des especes faisant I'objet d'un 
"commerce important". Apres cette operation, les taxons restants ont 
constitues la liste "B", laquelle contient les taxons qui pourraient etre 
classes en tant que "probleme possible". En outre, deux espdces 
(.Tuplnambls rufescens et Papustyla pulcherrlma) ont iti ajout^es k la 
liste dans des circonstances particulieres : la mise en Evidence d'un 
probleme en depit de 1 ' enregistrement d'un faible volume de commerce. 

3e etape : Production de la liste "C" 

L'etape suivante de la procedure revenait k Evaluer les informations 
disponibles pour chacune des especes de la liste "B" et a eliminer les 
especes qui, sur la base des connaissances des experts, ne posent pas de 
probleme. Cette partie de l'op6ration fut r6alis6e en rassemblant des 
informations sur autant d'aspects que possible relatifs k chaque espEce et 
en evaluant I'effet du commerce connu sur la population connue. Le groupe 
de travail convint que, pour chaque espEce, la situation globale devait 
avoir une importance primordiale, mais que, si une espEce Etait 
apparemment affectee par le commerce 4 I'Echelle nationale ou rEgionale, 
ce fait devait figurer dans un supplement k la liste. Les espEces de la 
liste "C" devaient etre rEparties en deux groupes: d'une part les espEces 
pour lesquelles les informations courantes ou la connaissance de leur 
biologie et/ou de leur gestion montrent que la population est affectEe par 
le commerce international (liste 1) et d autre part les espEces pour 
lesquelles les informations disponibles sont insuf f isantes pour servir de 
base a un tel jugement (liste 2). 

Ae Etape : Mise au point de mesures correctives 

Le Comite technique, ou un groupe de travail du Comite technique, devait 
examiner les listes "1" et "2" annotEes et Etablir des prioritEs au sein 
de chaque liste. Pour les espEces de la liste "1" ayant un ordre de 
priorite eleve, des sessions de travail devaient etre convoquEas dans le 
but de recommander des mesures correctives. De telles mesures devaient 
comprendre, sans nEcessairement s'y limiter: la prEparation de 
propositions de transferts de taxons k I'Annexe I; la mise en place de 
procEdures de gestion supplEmentaires , aussi bien en favour des 
populations sauvages (telles que quotas de chasse, saisons de chasse, 
tailles limites des spEcimens, etc.) qu'en ce qui concerne les contr61es 
du commerce (telles que quotas k I'exportation) , et 1' inscription de 
taxons pour des raisons de ressemblance. 

Pour les especes de la liste "2" ayant un ordre de prioritE ElevE, des 
projets devaient etre ElaborEs afin de collecter des informations sur leur 
biologie et leur gestion. Lorsque ces informations en montraient la 
necessitE, I'espece devait etre transfErEe k la liste "1". 

5e Etape : Mise en vigueur des mesures correctives 

Les mesures de correction identifiEes devaient etre prise par les Etats de 
I'aire de repartition intEressEs, sur la base des recommandations 
formulees lors des sessions de travail. 



xi 



Cette procedure en cinq Stapes a 6t6 approuv4e 4 la session de Buenos Aires, 
en 1985, et les Stapes 1 & 3 ont 4t4 r^alis^es par le Centre UICN de 
surveillance continue de la conservation de la nature (CMC). La Liste "C" a 
^t^ ^labor^e pour la deuzi^me session du Comity technique, qui s'est tenue k 
Lausanne, Suisse, en juin 1986. Pour chaque esp^ce de la liste "C", un projet 
de rapport a iti r^dige, lequel pr^sentait un r^sum^ de toutes les 
informations disponibles, dont une analyse d^taill4e des donates sur le 
commerce et des informations sur l'4tat des populations et d'autres facteurs 
jug^s pertinents. Sur la base de ces informations, chaque esp6ce a 6t4 
assignee a I'une deux listes recommand^es (liste 1, esp^ces k probl^mes; 
liste 2, probl^mes possibles). A ce stade, on a 6galement d^couvert que 
certaines des especes figurant k I'origine sur la liste "C" n'4taient 
probablement pas affect^es de maniere significative par les niveaux actuels de 
commerce. Celles-ci furent assignees 4 un troisi^me groupe (liste 3, sans 
problems). Le Groupe de travail sur le commerce important d'esp^ces de 
1 'Annexe II a etudi^ les informations fournies par le CMC, ainsi que les 
listes propos4es, et a fait un certain nombre de recommandations quant auz 
activites futures qui sont d^crites ci-apres. Le Comit6 technique a 6galement 
decide que, apres un nouvel examen, le rapport 41abor4 par le CMC devait etre 
public. 

Activites futures 

Le Groupe de travail sur le commerce important d' especes de 1' Annexe II a 
presente un document a la deuxieme session du Comity technique, document qui 
ebauchait des projets d'activit6s futures (WGR. TEC. 2.2). Les recommandations 
de ce rapport, dont certaines ont 6t6 modifi6es lors de la session du Comit6 
technique, sont presentees ci-dessous de fa?on d6taill6e en ce qui concerne 
les reptiles. 

Liste 1 (4 taxons) 

Podocnemls expansa - Les donn6es sur son commerce international sont 
certainement grandement exag6r6es , en raison d'une identification erron^e. Le 
Secretariat devrait informer les Parties des interdictions actuellement 
impos6es au commerce de cette espece, et le Venezuela envisagera 1 'Elaboration 
d'une proposition de transfert de l'esp6ce 4 I'Annexe I, en ne perdant pas de 
vue le fait que son commerce international pourrait etre insignif iant. 

Caiman crocodllus - Le probl6me est adress6 par le projet du Secretariat 
r6alis6 en Bolivie, au Bresil et au Paraguay et les r6sultats de cette 6tude 
devraient etre utiles 4 1' 6tablissement de quotas ad^quats. Le financement du 
deuxieme projet (Bresil, Colombie et Venezuela) doit encore etre trouv6. Des 
etudes sur I'etat des populations en Am^rique centrale devraient etre 
envisagees. Des donn6es historiques sur le commerce de cette espdce, notamment 
sur les quantites de peaux et leur taille, devraient etre r6unies et 
analys6es. Lorsque I'espece fait I'objet d'une exploitation 16gale, des quotas 
nationaux devraient etre 6tablis. 

Geochelone chllensls - La gestion de cette esp6ce d6j4 entreprise par 
I'Argentine parait adequate. 

Tuplnanbls spp. - L'Argentine entreprend les d-marches necessaires 4 la 
revision des quotas de prei4vement de cette esp4ce. 11 se pourrait que le 
commerce illegal de ces especes soit toujours un probieme et le Secretariat 
devrait evaluer les statistiques commerciales de 198A-85, identifier tous les 
pays d' importation qui permettent le commerce avec des pays d'exportation 
ayant des interdictions d'exporter et demander que les mesures necessaires 
soient prises pour mettre un terme 4 ce probl6me. La taxonomie devrait etre 
clarifiee par le Comite de la nomenclature. 

xii 



Liste 2 (17 taxons) 

Le groupe de travail a recommand^ que les tazons suivants resolvent une 
attention particuliere en tant qu'esp^ces ou groupes d'especes hautement 
prioritaires en ce qui concerne la collecte d' informations k leur sujet (par 
ordre d' importance) : 

1. Varanidae asiatiques (trois especes, soit Vazanus salvator et les 
especes V. bengalensls et V. flavescens inscrites 4 I'Annexe I). 

2. Pythons asiatiques (trois especes, soit Python curtus, P. molurus 
blvlttatus et P. retlculatus) . 

3. Varans d'Afrique (deux especes, soit Varanus exanthematicus et 
V. nllotlcus) - k noter que le projet devrait se concentrer sur les 
aspects necessaires a l'4valuation des niveaux d'exploitation que l'esp4ce 
peut supporter. 

4. Boidae sud-americains (trois especes, soit Boa constrictor, Bunectes 
murlnus et E. notaeus) . 

5. Papustyla pulcherrlma. 

En outre, le groupe a fait les recommandations sp^ciales suivantes: 

Dracaena gulanensls - Les Parties ayant des populations de Dracaena spp. 
devraient clarifier la situation en ce qui concerne leur repartition et 
envisager 1 ' inscription de Dracaena spp. 4 I'Annexe II. 

Crocodylus porosus - II seralt urgent de demander au Groupe de sp^cialistes 
des crocodiles de la Commistiion de sauvegarde de.s esp4ces de I'UICN de reviser 
le programme de gestion de ces especes k la lumi4re du recent rapport 
indon4sien. 

Liste 3 (15 taxons) 

II a 6t6 convenu que les informations disponibles indiquent que ces taxons ne 
sont pas au premier chef affect^s par le commerce international. 



WETHODES 

Ce rapport comprend I'examen de I'^tat biologique des especes contenues dans 
la liste "C" et des donn6es commerciales les concernant. II a 6t6 61abor6 par 
le Centre UICN de surveillance continue de la conservation de la nature, sur 
la base d'un contrat avec le Secretariat CITES, au cours de la p6riode 
septembre 1985 - avril 1986. Dans un premier temps, le Secretariat CITES a 
adresse, par 1' interm6diaire des organes de gestion CITES des pays Parties k 
la Convention ou des autorit^s responsables de la gestion de la faune ou 
equivalentes des pays non-Parties, une demande d' informations k tous les pays 
dans lesquels se rencontrent les esp4ces de la liste "C" . Les r^ponses revues 
ont et4 envoyees au CMC et il y est fait reference en indiquant le nom de 
I'organe de gestion de la Partie CITES en 1987. II est fait r6f6rence aux 
commentaires re?us des autorit^s responsables de la gestion de la faune dans 
les pays non-Parties en indiquant le nom du d6partement gouvernemental 
interess6. Des informations ont 6galement et6 demand6es aux sp6cialistes 
(personnes ou organisations), et les groupes de specialistes de la Commission 
de sauvegarde des especes de I'UICN en furent parmi les principales sources. 
II a egalement ^ti fait appel aux organisations du commerce et autres parties 
interessees. Un projet de rapport a ^t^ pr^sent^ k la deuxidme session du 

zili 



Comity technique CITES en juin 1986. Ce rapport a 6ti examine et amende par le 
comit^ et des versions r^vis^es ont 6ti transmises par le Secretariat CITES 
aux Etats de I'aire de repartition et aux personnes interess^es, dont le Pet 
Industry Joint Advisory Council. Les modifications finales et des donn^es 
conunerciales recentes ont iti ajout^es au texte, par le CMC, au cours de 1987. 

Dans un petit nombre de cas, la cat^gorie 4 laquelle une esp^ce avait 4te 
attribute lors de la deuxieme session du Comity technique a, par la suite, 6t6 
modifi^e sur la base des nouvelles informations revues, en particulier les 
donnees commerciales de 1985 qui ont 4t4 ajout^es aux rapports. 

Les informations ont ete recueillies et rassembl^es sous les titres suivants: 
repartition; population; habitat et ^cologie; menaces pour la survie; commerce 
international; mesures de conservation; et eievage en captivity. 

Les donnees commerciales CITES ont ^t6 analys4es pour les ann^es 1980 k 1985, 
sur la base des rapports annuels des Parties k la Convention dont les 
statistiques sont conserv^es sur ordinateur par le CMC. Ces donnees 
comprennent les importations et exportations des especes figurant aux annexes 
a la CITES et de leurs produits. Elles contiennent des informations sur les 
especes en question, une description du type de produits et leur quantity et, 
dans le cas des importations, mentionnent 1 'exportateur ou le r^-exportateur 
et le premier pays producteur, et, pour les exportations, la destination et la 
source d'origine. En ce qui concerne le commerce entre deux pays Parties k la 
CITES, chaque transaction devrait done etre enregistr4e deux fois, une fois 
par 1 ' importateur et une fois par 1 'exportateur. Ainsl que le Groupe de 
travail sur le commerce Important d' especes de 1 'Annexe II 1' avait sugg^r^, 
I'analyse a ete, pour I'essentiel, llmlt^e au commerce des animaux vlvants et 
aux produits non-travallles ; cependant, dans un petit nombre de cas 
exceptionnels, des produits travaill^s y ont et4 Indus. 

Divers problemes r^duisent la valeur des donnees commerciales CITES pour 
I'^valuation des nlveaux du commerce mondial. Par exemple: toutes les nations 
falsant du commerce ne sont pas Parties k la CITES; les Parties a la CITES ne 
presentent pas toutes des rapports annuels; et les rapports pr4sent4s sont de 
quality variable et le sont de manidre irregulidre. Certains pays font 4tat du 
nombre de specimens couverts par les permls 6mls, tandis que d'autres 
indlquent le nombre r4el de specimens pour lesquels le permls a 4te utilise. 
En outre, 11 se peut que des exportations ayant lieu en fin d'ann^e arrivent 
dans le pays d' importation au d^but de I'ann^e suivante et, dans de tels cas, 
11 est possible que la meme transaction soit enregistree dans les tableaux 
relatifs aux donnees commerciales des deux ann^es. II s'aglt de tenlr compte 
de ces facteurs, et d'autres encore, dans I'analyse des donnees de la CITES; 
toutefois, pour la plupart des especes, ces statistiques constituent I'unlque 
source d' informations d^tailiees sur leur commerce international, et les 
rapports CITES sont en general pr^cieux pour ^valuer les nlveaux approxlmatif s 
du commerce legal, la repartition g^ographique des voles emprunt^es par le 
commerce International et les tendances, au cours des ans, en ce qui concerne 
le volume du commerce et I'^volution des preferences k I'egard des produits. 

Dans la plupart des cas, les donnees commerciales sont presentees en deux 
tableaux dans les exposes qui suivent. Le premier (le tableau 1 en rdgle 
generale) enumere, dans le detail, les importations nettes des pays 
d* importation dont le total donne une estimation du volume minimal du commerce 
mondial pour chaque annee. Le second (le tableau 2 en regie generale) indique 
I'orlgine ou, dans les cas oil I'orlgine n'a pas 6te indiquee, 1 'exportateur 
des specimens commercialises. Lorsque des specimens ont ete exportes vers un 
pays intermediaire et reexportes par la suite, le commerce net minimal est 
alors calcule, en s'assurant que les quantites n'ont ete enregistrees qu'une 
fois. Alnsl, le tableau indique, pour chaque annee, la quantite minimale 

xiv 



d'articles commercialisms k partir de chague pays d'origine. Cependant, 
certains articles pouvant etre r^export^s sans que le pays d'origine ne soit 
specific, il est possible qu'ils soient enregistr^s deux fois dans le 
tableau 2. C'est la raison pour laquelle les totaux du tableau 2 sont 
g^n^ralement plus Aleves que ceux du tableau 1. 



zv 



IWTRODUCCIOW 



Antecedentes 

La Convenci6n Sobre el Comercio Internacional de Especies Ainenazadas de Fauna 
y Flora Silvestres (CITES) fue elaborada en 1973 con el objeto de controlar el 
comercio de vida silvestre. Ese control se efectua asignando a las especies 
dos niveles de proteccidn. Aquellas especies (o pequenas poblaciones 
geogrdficas) que se encuentran ainenazadas de extinci6n estin incluidas en el 
Ap4ndice I de la Convencidn, y su comercio internacional est6 prohibido, 
excepto bajo circunstancias excepcionales . Aquellas especies que no corren 
peligro de extinci6n, pero que podrian estar amenazadas si su comercio no 
estuviera reglamentado, se incluyen en el Ap^ndice II de la Convenci6n. Dichas 
especies pueden comercializarse a nivel internacional, pero las naciones 
concernidas deben asegurarse de que los niveles de comercio no representan una 
amenaza para las poblaciones silvestres remanentes. Este requisito se explica 
formalmente en el texto de la Convenci6n, Articulo IV, p4rrafo 2 a), que exige 
que las autoridades de los paises exportadores informen que la exportaci6n de 
especimenes de esas especies "no perjudicar4 la supervivencia de esa especie". 
En el articulo IV, parrafo 3 se indica que el comercio de esas especies "debe 
limitarse a fin de conservarlas , a trav^s de su h&bitat, en un nivel 
consistente con su papel en los ecosistemas donde se hallan y en un nivel 
suf icientemente superior a aquel en el cual esa especie seria susceptible de 
inclusi6n en el Apendice I". Las autoridades del pais exportador deberdn 
controlar las exportaciones y tomar medidas para limitarlas cuando asi se lo 
estime conveniente. 

Durante la cuarta reunion de la Conferencia de las Partes en CITES, realizada 
en 1983 en Gaborone, Botswana, se reconoci6 que varios paises exportadores de 
especimenes de especies del Apendice II no podian determinar por si solos si 
los niveles de comercio perjudicaban a las poblaciones silvestres. Por lo 
tanto, se recomendo (per medio de la Resoluci6n Conf. 4.7) "que el Comity 
Tecnico de CITES identifique las especies del Apendice II que son objeto de un 
comercio internacional considerable, para las cuales la informaci6n cientifica 
disponible sobre su capacidad de resistir a tales niveles de comercio resulta 
insuficiente como para satisfacer los requisitos estipulados en el Articulo 
IV, parrafo 3 de la Convenci6n, segun la opini6n de los Estados involucrados 
en el area de distribucidn" . Se recomend6 que, una vez que determinadas 
especies se hayan identif icado , el Comity T6cnico, junto con loj Estados 
involucrados en el 4rea de distribuci6n, los Estados importadores y las 
organizaciones que poseen una experiencia en el manejo de la fauna y de la 
flora, "elaboren y negocien las medidas necesarias para asegurar el 
mantenimiento del comercio continuo de esas especies dentro de los limites 
previstos en el Articulo IV, parrafo 3, de la Convenci6n". 

Las discuciones iniciales respecto a la manera como el Comit4 Tecnico 
identif icaria las especies en cuestidn (tal como se recomienda en la 
Resolucion Conf. 4.7) se basaron en la premisa de que un importante volumen de 
comercio era evidencia suficiente como para justificar la preocupaci6n . Sin 
embargo, un informe no publicado, que fue realizado en 1984 por el WTMU para 
la Secretaria CITES, lleg6 a las siguientes conclusiones en lo que se refiere 
a la percepci6n del problema relativo al volumen signif icativo de comercio: 

El concepto de volumen signif icativo de comercio puede definirse de dos 
maneras: el volumen significative puede considerarse en t^rminos absolutos 
(i.e. grandes cantidades), o en t^rminos relatives (i.e. grandes 
cantidades en relaci6n con la poblaci6n y la biologia de la especie). 



zvi 



El volumen de comercio slgnif icatlvo absolute no impllca por si solo que 
la especie est^ amenazada por el comercio. Sin embargo, la 
comercializaci6n de especies en nilmeros signif icativos absolutos puede 
tener un significado ecol6gico Importante. 

El volumen de comercio signif icativo relativo esti directamente ligado a 
la supervivencia de las especies concernidas, pero no se tienen pruebas de 
que esto este correlacionado con el volumen de comercio signif icativo 
absoluto. Debido a su designaci6n en los Ap^ndices, todo comercio de 
especies incluidas en CITES es de interns y debe ser vigilado. 

Considerar el volumen de comercio significative absoluto como un criterio 
para la selecci6n de especies para un cuidado especial es por lo tanto no 
solamente irrelevante en tdrminos de conservaci6n de especies, sino que 
puede tambi^n distraer la atenci6n de casos mis importantes. 

El Grupo de Trabajo del Comity T^cnico sobre el comercio significative de 
especies del Ap^ndice II produjo un documento, basado en su reuni6n en Suiza 
en Diciembre de 1984, cuyo fin consistia en formular un procedimiento o una 
linea de conducta que permitiera al TEC cumplir con sus obligaciones en virtud 
de la Resoluci6n Conf. 4.7. Se decidi6 que el Grupo debia limitar sus 
discusiones a la fauna, pues ya existia un Grupo de Trabajo para las plantas. 
Las conclusiones del informe del WTMU sobre gran volumen de comercio fueron 
endosados, y el Grupo convino en que no era posible identificar los taza del 
Apendice II mis preocupantes basindose solamente en los datos comerciales. 
Para evaluar correctamente el efecto del comercio sobre esos taxa era 
necesario poseer informaci6n sobre la situaci6n bioldgica, sobre la tendencia 
de las poblaciones y sobre toda una serie de otros factores. 

Se convino en un procedimiento de cinco etapas como siendo el mecanismo mAs 
favorable para la aplicaci6n de la Resoluci6n Conf. 4.7. Dicho procedimiento 
se present6 durante la quinta reuni6n de la Conferencia de las Partes que se 
realize en Buenos Aires, Argentina, en 1985 (Doc. 5.26). Los pasos 1-3 ya ban 
side realizados. 

Ira, etapa : Elaboraci6n de una lista "A" 

Se reconoci6 que, salve algunas pocas excepciones, se puede razonablemente 
asumir que un tax6n incluide en el Ap6ndice II puede sopertar un cierto 
grade de expletaci6n con fines de comercio internacional . El Grupo decidi6 
fijar una cantidad a un nivel "prudente" de comercio para todos los taza 
del Apendice II, en t6rmino medio, de menos de 100 ejemplares por ano de 
un tax6n incluide en el Ap6ndice II, que son obtenidos de la naturaleza 
(en forma global) y que entran anualmente en el comercio. 

De esta forma, eliminande todos los taxa que no estAn concernidos por el 
comercio internacional e que estin concernidos solamente a un nivel 
minime, se obtiene una lista de taxa "candidates potenciales" (lista "A"). 
Esos taxa se definen come aquellos que podrian ser objeto de un comercio 
internacional significative. 

La lista "A" fue preparada por la WTMU, utilizando el promedio de las 
estadisticas comerciales CITES ofrecidas per las Partes en el periodo 
1980-1982. Se incluyeron en el andlisis los datos relatives a los 
especimenes vivos (excluyendo los especimenes criados en cautividad) , las 
pieles enteras o substancialmente enteras, las pieles de los 
f lances/lades, las napas de pieles, los caparazones, los trofeos y otros 
articulos no trabajados, etc. Las especies que nunca fueron registradas en 
el comercio, con excepci6n de aquellas incluidas en el Ap6ndice II como 
parte de un taxon superior e por razones de semejanza. fueron listadas 

xvii 



separadamente para que se tomara en consideracidn su retire de los 
Ap^ndices . 

2da. ctapa : Elaboraci6n de una lista "B" 

El Grupo convino que algunos taxa pueden ser eliminados d© las especies de 
"comercio signif icat ivo" basdndose en los conocimientos disponibles 
relatives a su situaci6n. Luego de este proceso, los taxa remanentes 
constituyen la lista "B", formada per aquellos taxa con "posibles 
problemas". Ademas , agregaron a esa lista dos especies {Tuplnambls 
ruf&scens y Papustyla pulchertlma) bajo circunstancias especiales, 
donde se pone en evidencia un problema, a pesar del bajo voluinen de 
comercio registrado. 

3ra. etapa : Elaboraci6n de una lista "C" 

El paso siguiente del procedimiento consistia en evaluar las informaciones 
disponibles para cada una de las especies de la lista "B" y en eliminar 
las especies que, sobre la base de la opinidn de expertos, no presentan 
problemas. Esta parte de la operacidn signif icaba tener que reunir el 
m4ximo de informaci6n posible con respecto a cada especie y evaluar el 
efecto del comercio conocido sobre la poblaci6n conocida. El Grupo convino 
que, para cada especie, se debia acordar una importancia primordial a la 
situaci6n global, pero que, si una especie estaba aparentemente afectada 
por un comercio a nivel nacional o regional, se lo debia mencionar en un 
suplemento anexado a la lista. Las especies de la lista "C" deberian 
distribuirse en dos grupos: en primer lugar las especies para las cuales 
las informaciones corrientes o el conocimiento de su biologia y/o de su 
manejo demuestran que la poblaci6n se halla afectada por la explotaci6n 
debido al comercio internac ional (Lista 1); y, en segundo lugar, las 
especies para las cuales las informaciones disponibles o los conocimientos 
son insuf icientes como para servir de base a un juicio de ese tipo (Lista 
2). 

4ta. etapa : Elaboraci6n de medidas correctivas 

El TEC, o un grupo de trabajo del TEC constituido a ese efecto, debia 
examinar las listas "1" y "2", y establecer prioridades dentro de cada 
lista. Para las especies o grupos de especies de la lista "1" de gran 
prioridad, se debian convocar sesiones de trabajo con el objeto de 
recomendar medidas correctivas. Las medidas correctivas examinadas debian 
comprender, sin necesariamente limitarae a esto: la preparaci6n de 
propuestas para transferir las especies en cuestion al Ap6ndice I, la 
elaboracion de procedimientos de manejo suplementarios ya sea en favor de 
las poblaciones silvestres (tales como cupos de caza, temporadas de caza, 
tamafios limites de los especimenes, etc.) o bien en lo que se refiere a 
los controles del comercio, y la inclusi6n de taxa por razones de 
semejanza. 

Para las especies de la lista "2", de gran prioridad, se deberian 
establecer proyectos con el objeto de recabar informaci6n sobre su 
biologia y manejo. Cuando esas informaciones demuestren la necesidad, la 
especie deberia transferirse a la lista "1". 

5ta. etapa : Aplicaci6n de las medidas correctivas 

Las medidas correctivas deberian ser desarrolladas por los Estados del 
4rea de distribuci6n concernida, sobre la base de las recomendaciones 
formuladas en las sesiones de trabajo. 

zviii 



Este procedimiento de cinco etapas fue aprobado en la reuni6n de Buenos Aires 
en 1985 y las etapas 1-3 ya fueron desarrolladas por el Centro UICN de 
Vigilancia Continua de la Conservaci6n. La lista "C" fue preparada a tiempo 
para la segunda reunion del Comity T6cnico realizada en Junio 1986 en 
Lausanne, Suiza. Para cada especie incluida en la lista "C" , se prepar6 un 
borrador presentando un restimen de toda la informacidn disponible, incluyendo 
un analisis detallado de referencias e informaci6n disponible sobre el 
comercio y sobre el estado de la poblacidn y otros factores que se 
consideraron importantes. Basado en esta informacidn , cada especie fue 
asignada a las dos listas sugeridas (lista 1, especies con problemas ; lista 2, 
problemas posibles). En esta etapa se descubri6 tajnbi6n que era posible que 
algunas especies, originalmente incluidas en la lista "C" , no se vieran 
afectadas en forma signif icativa debido a los presentes niveles de comercio. 
Dichas especies fueron incluidas en un tercer grupo (lista 3, sin problemas). 
El Grupo de Trabajo del Comity T^cnico sobre el comercio signif icativo de 
especies revise la informacidn proporcionada por el CMC, asi como los listados 
presentados, y prepar6 recomendaciones para una acci6n ulterior, las cuales se 
ennumeran a continuaci6n . El Comity T6cnico decidi6 asimismo que, despu6s de 
revisi6n ulterior, el informe preparado por el CMC debia ser publicado. 

Acci6n ulterior 

El Grupo de Trabajo sobre el Comercio Signif icativo de Especies present6 un 
documento durante la segunda reuni6n del Comit6 T6cnico en el que se 
delineaban propuestas para acciones ulteriores (WGR.TEC. 2.2). A continuaci6n 
se describen las recomendaciones de dicho informe para las especies de 
reptiles concernidas, las cuales fueron modificadas durante la reuni6n del 
Comity T^cnico. 

Lista 1 (4 taza) 

Podocnemls expanse - Cabe suponer que los datos relatives al comercio son 
sumamente exagerados como consecuencia de una identif icaci6n err6nea. La 
Secretaria deberi informar a las Partes acerca de las prohibiciones vigentes 
sobre el comercio y Venezuela se encargar^ de preparar una propuesta para la 
transferencia de la especie al Ap^ndice I teniendo en cuenta de que el 
comercio internacional es' probablemente insignif icante . 

Caiman crocodllus - Para tratar este problema, la Secretaria esti realizando 
proyectos en Bolivia, Brasil y Paraguay. Se necesita financiaci6n para un 
segundo proyecto (Brasil, Colombia y Venezuela). Se deberian realizar estudios 
sobre la poblaci6n en America Central. Deberia recolectarse y analizarse 
informaci6n sobre antecedentes en el comercio, incluyendo cantidades y tamano 
de las pieles,. En los lugares en los que las especies sean legalmente 
explotadas, deberin establecerse cupos nacionales para la extracci6n del medio 
silvestre. 

G&ochelone chllensls - Se considera apropiado el plan de manejo que ha 
asumido Argentine. 

Tuplnambls spp. - Argentina ha iniciado una acci6n para revisar sus cupos de 
extraccidn del medio silvestre. Es posible que el comercio ilegal siga siendo 
un problema y la Secretaria deberi evaluar las estadisticas relativas al 
comercio en 1984/1985, identif icar cualquier pais importador que autorice el 
comercio a partir de paises exportadores donde existe una prohibici6n sobre 
las exportaciones, y pedir que se tomen las medidas del caso a fin de poner 
t^rmino al problema. El Comity de Nomenclatura deberi aclarar el aspecto 
taxon6mico. 



xlz 



Lista 2 (17 taia) 

El Grupo de Trabajo recoinend6 que los sigulentes taxa (enumerados por orden de 
importancia) se consideraran como especies o grupos de especies prloritarios : 

1. Varanidos asiiticos (tres especies, es declr, Vaianus salvator y las 
especies del Apendice I I', bengalensls y V. flavescens) . 

7. Pitones asiaticos (tres especies, es decir. Python cuztus, P. molorus 
bivlttatus y P. retlculatus) . 

2. Lagartos Africanos (dos especies, es decir, Varanus exanthsmatlcus y 
Vazanus nllotlcus) , haciendo notar que el proyecto deberi concentrarse 
en los aspectos necesarios para evaluar los niveles de ezplotacidn 
sostenidos para las especies. 

A. Boas sudamericanas (tres especies, es decir. Boa constrictor, Bunectes 
murlnus y Eunectes notaeus) . 

5. Papustyla pulcherrlma. 

Ademas , el Grupo formul6 las recomendaciones especiales siguientes: 

Dracaena gulanensls: Las Partes que poseen poblaciones de Dracaena spp. 
deberan aclarar su situaci6n en lo que se refiere a la distribuci6n y 
considerar la inclusi6n de Dracaena spp. en el Apendice II. 

Crocodylos porosus: Deberi recomendarse con urgencia al Grupo UICN/CSE una 
revision del programa de manejo para esta especie a la luz de los resultados 
del reciente informe de Indonesia. 

Lista 3 (15 taxa) 

Se acord6 en que la infortnaci6n disponible indicaba que esos taxa no estaban 
esencialmente afectados por el comercio internacional . 

METODOS 

Este informe incluye la revisi6n del estado bioldgico y comercial de especies 
que aparecen en la lista "C" . Este informe ha sido realizado por el Centro 
UICN de Vigilancia Continua de la Conservaci6n , bajo contrato con la 
Secretaria CITES, cubriendo el periodo Septiembre de 1985 a Abril de 1986. 
Como paso inicial, la Secretaria CITES circul6, a traves de las Autoridades 
Administrativas CITES de los Estados miembros en la Convenci6n, o a traves de 
las Autoridades Administrativas responsables de fauna u otras autoridades 
equivalentes en los estados no Partes en la Convenci6n, una solicitud de 
informaci6n a todos los paises en los que se encuentran las especies de la 
lista "C" . Los comentarios recibidos fueron enviados a la CMC y se 
clasificaron de la siguiente manera: Nombre del pais de la Autoridad 
Administrativa CITES, 1987. Los comentarios recibidos de las autoridades 
responsables de los Estados no Partes fueron clasificados por nombre de la 
autoridad gubernamental concernida. Tambi^n se solicitd informaci6n de 
especialistas concernidos (personas o agencias), y entre las fuentes 
principales se encontraban los grupos de especialistas de la Comisi6n de 
Supervivencia de Especies de la UICN. Tambi^n fueron consultadas algunas 
organizaciones comerciales y otras Partes interesadas. Un informe borrador se 
present6 en la segunda reuni6n del Comity T^cnico CITES en Junio de 1986. Este 
informe fue discutido y corregido por el Comity y las copias, una vez 
revisadas, fueron nuevamente enviadas por la Secretaria CITES a todos los 
paises concernidos y a las partes interesadas, incluyendo el Pet Industry 
Joint Advisory Council. Las modif icaciones finales al texto, asi como la 

zz 



informacidn sobre el comercio reclente, fueron incluidas por el CMC durante 
1987. 

Por lo tanto, en la minoria de los casos, la designaci6n de la categoria de 
una especie al realizarse la segunda reuni6n del Comity T^cnico ha sido 
modificada a la luz de nueva informaci6n, en particular la informaci6n 
comercial de 1985 que ha sido agregada a los informes. 

Se recolecto e incluy6 la infonnaci6n bajo los siguientes titulos: 
distribucion; poblaci6n; habitat y ecologia; amenazas a la supervivencia; 
comercio internacional ; medidas de conservacion; y cria en cautividad. 

Los datos sobre el comercio CITES fueron analizados para los anos 1980 a 1985, 
utilizando los Informes Anuales de las Partes de la Convenci6n, cuyas 
estadisticas han sido procesadas en el computador del CMC. Esta informacidn 
incluye el registro de importaciones y exportaciones de especies de los 
Ap^ndices de CITES, asi como sus productos, y contienen informacidn sobre las 
especies concernidas, una descripcidn del tipo y la cantidad del producto, y, 
en el caso de importaciones, el ezportador o re-ezportador y los principales 
paises de origen, y, para las exportaciones, el destino y la fuente de origen. 
En lo que concierne al comercio entre dos Partes en CITES, cada transacci6n 
deberia por lo tanto registrarse dos veces: una vez por el importador y otra 
por el exportador. Tal como sugirid el Grupo de Trabajo sobre el Comercio 
Significative, el anilisis se restringi6 al comercio de animales vivos o de 
productos no trabajados, sin embargo, tambi^n se incluyeron productos 
terminados en un niimero pequeno de casos excepcionales . 

Varios problemas reducen el valor de la informaci6n comercial de CITES en la 
evaluacion de los niveles del comercio mundial. Por ejemplo: no todas las 
naciones que realizan comercio son Partes en CITES; no todas las Partes en 
CITES elaboran informes anuales, y la presentaci6n de los informes varian en 
calidad y regularidad. Algunos paises pueden proporcionar informaci6n sobre 
lacantidad de especimenes que cubren los permisos ezpedidos, mientras que 
otros proporcionan informaci6n sobre la cantidad real por la cual se utiliz6 
el permiso. H&s aun, las exportaciones de un pais al finalizar un aiio pueden 
arrivar al pais importador al comienzo del afio siguiente, y en tales casos es 
posible que, por la misma transaccidn, se registren en los cuadros comerciales 
para ambos aiios. Estos factores y otros deben tomarse en cuenta cuando se 
analizan los datos de CITES, pero para la mayoria de las especies, estas 
estadisticas representan la linica fuente detallada de informaci6n respecto a 
su comercio internacional y generalmente los informes CITES son de gran 
utilidad al evaluar los niveles aproximados de comercio legal, asi como los 
patrones geogrificos en tal comercio y las tendencias relativas a los 
voliimenes de productos preferenciales , en un determinado lapso de tiempo. 

En la mayoria de los casos, los datos comerciales son presentados en los dos 
cuadros siguientes. En el primero (normalmente Cuadro 1), se detallan las 
importaciones netas de paises importadores , cuyo total nos proporciona una 
cifra estimada del volumen minimo de comercio mundial anual. El segundo 
(normalmente Cuadro 2) muestra el origen, o en los casos en los que el origen 
no se menciona, el exportador de los especimenes en cuesti6n. Cuando los 
especimenes han sido exportados a un pais intermediario y posteriorroente 
reexportados, el comercio minimo neto ha sido calculado, asegurAndose de que 
los numeros solo fueron registrados una sola vez. Por lo tanto, el cuadro 
muestra, anualmente, la cantidad minima de articulos de comercio de cada pais 
de origen. Sin embargo, ya que algunos articulos pueden ser reexportados sin 
que necesariamente aparezca especificado el pais de origen, 6stos pueden ser 
registrados dos veces en el Cuadro 2. Por lo tanto, los totales son 
usualmente mis altos que los que aparecen en el Cuadro 1. 

xxl 



CHACO TORTOISE 

Geochelone chllensls (Gray, 1870) 

Order TESTUDINES 



Reconnnended list: 1 
[Problem] 



Family TESTUDINIDAE 



SUMMARY AND COWCLUSIOWS A medium size terrestrial tortoise, restricted to 
rather arid lowlands, mainly in the Chaco region, in southern South America. 
Ranges from Paraguay and possibly adjacent Bolivia through much of Argentina. 
Is classified as Insufficiently Known in the lUCN Amphibia-Rept ilia Red Data 
Book. Mainly herbivorous. Clutch comprises up to six eggs. Two new species 
have recently been described from within the range of C. chllensls sensu 
lato; these are not widely recognised and may not be distinct species, 
although new information suggests that the large, montane form 
(donosobarrpsl) may be sympatric with C. chllensls . 

Central and northern populations in Argentina are reportedly in marked decline 
due to over-exploitation for the international live animal trade. Large 
numbers have been exported through Bolivia mainly to U.S.A. From 1980 to 
1984, the number in reported trade increased very sharply from 5 to 8111, but 
declined again in 1985. 

Field study on population levels and the sustainabili ty of the reported and 
alleged unreported trade is required, as is clarification of the claimed 
ranching or farming operations in Argentina 

DISTRIBUTION Rather widespread in the dry lowlands of central South 
America, centred on the Chaco zone; extends from Paraguay south through much 
of north and central Argentina, into the northern fringes of Patagonia. 

One authority (Freiberg, 1973, 1981) regards tortoises in the western part of 
the Argentinian Chaco, around Santiago del Estero and La Rioja, as a full 
species G. peters! , and those from the Patagonian portion of the range, 
between La Pampa (37.3°S) and the Rio Negro (A1°S), as G. donosobarrosl . 
Most other authorities have preferred to retain the conventional treatment 
pending further study. It has recently been proposed (Bour, 1980) that 
several taxa usually recognised as subgenera of Geochelone should be 
elevated to generic rank, as Chelonoldes in the case of the chllensls 
complex. This usage is not widespread. 

Argentina Rather widely distributed, from the Chaco zone in the north, 
south to around 41°S; recorded from the provinces of Buenos Aires, Catamarca, 
Cordoba, Chaco, Chubut, Formosa, La Pampa, La Rioja, Mendoza, Neuquen, Rio 
Negro, Salta, San Juan, San Luis and Santiago del Estero (Auffenberg, 1969; 
Freiberg, 1981; N. Scott, In lltt. 23 December 1981). Waller (1986) listed 
known localities and estimated that the distribution covered 29-30X of the 
continental land area of the country. 

Bolivia Although no published records exist, the species "undoubtedly" 
(Auffenberg, 1969) occurs in the Gran Chaco of southern Bolivia. 

Paraguay Widely distributed in the Chaco zone of north-west Paraguay; 

recorded from the departments of Boqueron, Chaco, Nuevo Asuncion and 

Presidente Hayes (N. Scott, in lltt. 23 December 1981). Waller (1986) 
listed two records from Boqueron. 

Uruguay The species has been reported to occur in Uruguay (Honegger, 1981), 
but there appear to be no published records from this country. 



G&ochelone chllensls 

POPULATION Reportedly in marked decline in the main part of the range, 
comprising the Argentinian Chaco, apparently relatively secure in Paraguay. 

Argentina Northern and central populations reported to be declining 
severely, but southern populations ('G. donosobarrosl' ) appear secure, 
although existing in low density (Freiberg, 1974, 1981). In the late 1960s a 
maximum density of 15-20 G. chllensls per acre were recorded in optimum 
habitat in Cordoba (Auffenberg, 1969). In general, reported to be not so 
widespread and abundant as often said, and to be patchy in distribution (J.H. 
Cei, In lltt. to F.W.King, 14 June 1978). Gruss and Waller (1986) cited no 
evidence of population decline but claimed that habitat destruction was a 
major threat and had caused a severe reduction in range. 

Bolivia No information. 

Paraguay Reasonably abundant in much of the range, the majority of which is 
difficult of access; no evidence for decline (N. Scott, In lltt. 23 December 
1981) . 

HABITAT AND ECOLOGY A medium-size terrestrial tortoise, inhabiting arid 
lowlands, most typically in thorny chaco habitats (Auffenberg, 1969; 
Pritchard, 1979). Population density at one site, near La Posta, Cordoba 
(Argentina) was between 15-20 tortoises per acre. Although the species ranges 
into semi-arid intermontane basins in western Argentina, densities are highest 
in the chaco region. Mainly herbivorous, consuming the fruit of various trees 
and shrubs, pads and fruit of cacti, and grasses (Auffenberg, 1969). Shallow 
pallets are excavated, deep enough to cover the anterior third or half of the 
shell, in which nights and much of the day are spent; a somewhat deeper pallet 
is formed for shelter during cold and dry periods. Each tortoise has an 
activity range of about 30 m from the pallet being used. Courtship occurs in 
November-December and a clutch of 1 to 4 round white eggs, c 4.5 cm diameter, 
is laid in January; there is some evidence that two clutches of 1-3 eggs may 
be laid in one year (Auffenberg, 1969). 

THREATS TO SURVIVAL Threatened by heavy exploitation for the live animal 
trade, by increasing habitat destruction owing to timber extraction and 
conversion of forest and scrub to agricultural land (Salas, 1985; Gruss and 
Waller, 1986); local utilisation as a food source may also have an adverse 
effect in conjunction with these factors. These activities seem to be most 
prevalent in the province of Santiago del Estero, said to show more severe 
habitat destruction than any other province, and a centre for the wildlife 
trade (Salas, 1985). Tortoises collected that are not sold for the wildlife 
trade may be eaten by local inhabitants, although the meat is not especially 
favoured (Salas, 1985). Said to be exported to Santiago (Chile) for food use 
(Auffenberg, 1969). In the 1970s very large numbers of young and adults were 
sold or exported, about 4000 tortoises monthly in Mendoza Province. Most of 
these animals were sent to Chile and other countries, with an estimated 
mortality in transit of around 70% (J.M. Cei, In lltt. to F.W.King, 14 June 
1978). Gruss (1986) conducted a questionnaire survey in Buenos Aires which 
concluded that 63% of the population had bought or owned G. chllensls as 
pets. He estimated that this could account for an offtake of 75 000 tortoises 
from the wild each year to supply the demand in the city and its surroundings. 

INTERNATIONAL TRADE Reportedly "tens of thousands" of C. chllensls are 
collected annually in Argentina for the national and international pet trade 
(Salas, 1985). In the north and centre of Argentina G. chllensls (including 
G. petersl) are collected, taken to Buenos Aires and then exported in 
thousands (with other wildlife) via Bolivia to USA (notably Los Angeles) 



Geochelone chllensls 



(Freiberg, 1981). A number of 'hatcheries' or farms of some description exist 
which claim to supply captive-bred tortoises to the trade; it is alleged that 
most such operations exist simply as a cover for massive collection from the 
wild (Salas, 1985). European trade in live G. chilensls may increase in the 
future as EEC countries prohibited the import of European Testudo species in 
1984 (Honegger, 1986), although no such increase was apparent in 1985. The 
numbers of chllensls in trade reported to CITES is not as large as the 
overall numbers said to be entering the pet trade (Salas, 1985; M.A. Freiberg, 
In lltt. 16 March 1981); this implies that there is an extensive unreported 
trade. The number of live animals in reported trade increased very steeply 
between 1980 and 1985, but then fell again in 1985. 



Table 1. Apparent minimum net imports of live C. 
CITES, 1980-85 (including one shell imported to USA). 



chllensls reported to 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1986 



1985 



F.R. 



Bermuda 

Canada 

Chile 

Denmark 

Germany 

Japan 

Netherlands 

Switzerland 

UK 

USA 

USSR 

TOTAL 



195 
42 

32 

24 

540 



833 



1430 



430 



3028 



8111 



- 


15 


- 


_ 


50 


- 


6 


10 


6 


2 


570 


- 


361 


72 


- 


- 


162 


: 


653 


7225 


647 


_ 


7 


6 



659 



Table 2. Reported countries of origin (or exporting country if no original 
source reported) and quantities of transactions in live G. chllensls 
reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



a. Countries having or possibly having wild populations of G. chllensls 



Argentina 


4 


215 


Bolivia 


1 


7 


Chile 


- 


- 


Paraguay 


- 


611 



1400 



2928 
100 



8111* 



655* 
4 



30 - - 

*2951 of these said to be captive bred in 1984 and 530 in 1985. 

b. Countries without wild populations 

U.S.A. _ _ _ - 6 



Geochelone chllensls 

COMSERVATIOM MEASURES Existing laws should be adequately enforced and 
international trade restricted. The taxonomic status of 'G. petetsl' and 
•G. donosobarrosl' requires investigation. 

Argentina All tortoises are protected from hunting and trade in Argentina 
(Ley No. 22.421), but this legislation is said not to be enforced (Freiberg, 
1974) . 

Bolivia A ban on the export of all wildlife was imposed in 1984 (Resolucion 
Ministerial No 85/84). This was extended in 1985 to cover all wildlife 
products, with very few exceptions (Resolucion Ministerial No 2262/85). 

Paraguay Export of wildlife from Paraguay is prohibited except under 
permit; reportedly (N. Scott, in lltt. 23 December 1981) permits are now 
issued only for scientific specimens. 

Uruguay All hunting and trade of wild animals, with very few exceptions, is 
prohibited in Uruguay under Ley No. 9.481. 

CAPTIVE BREEDING A number of operations said to be 'commercial breeders' of 
G. chilensls exist in Argentina (Salas, 1985). A recent inventory (Slavens, 
1985) reports 23 chllensls in 8 collections responding to a questionnaire. 
Captive breeding prospects are reportedly poor; survival rate in captivity is 
very low, due to distinct environmental requirements (Honegger, 1979). 

REFERENCES 

Auffenberg, W. (1969). Land of the Chaco Tortoise Geochelone chllensls. 

International Turtle and Tortoise Society Journal 3(3): 16-19, 36-37. 
Bour, R. (1980). Essai sur la taxinomie des Testudinidae actuels (Reptilia, 

Chelonii). Bulletin du Museum National d'Hlstolre Naturelle, Paris. 4 

ser., 2, section A, No 2: 541-546. 
Freiberg, M.A. (1973). Dos nuevas tortugas terrestres de Argentina. Boletln 

de la Socledad de Blologla, Concepcion, Chile, 46: 81-93. 
Freiberg, M.A. (1974). The Argentine Land Tortoise, Geochelone chllensls, 

an endangered species. Bulletin of the Maryland Her petolog leal Society 

10(2): 39-41. 
Freiberg, M.A. (1981). Turtles of South America. T.F.H. Publications, Inc. 

Ltd. , Hong Kong. 
Gruss, J. (1986). Geochelone chllensls en cautividad. Descripcion. Amphibia 

& Reptilia (Conservaclon) 1(2): 29-35. 
Gruss, J. and Waller, T. (1986). Un jugueta amenazado. Vlda Sllvestre 5(19): 

28-32. 
Honegger, R. (1979). Red Data Book, Vol. 3, Amphlbla-Reptllla. lUCN, Gland 

(third edition, partly revised). 
Honegger, R. (1981). Family Testudinidae. In, CITES Identification Manual, 

Vol. 3: amphibia, reptilia, plsces. CITES Secretariat, Geneva. 
Honegger, R. (1984). In lltt., 4 June, to D. Jelden. Remarks on the 

situation of Geochelone chllensls and G. carbonarla in Argentina. 
Pritchard, P.C.H. (1979). Encyclopedia of turtles. T.F.H. Publications, 

New Jersey and Hong Kong, 895 pp. 
Salas, S. (1985). Project proposal: determination of the status and 

exploitation of the Chaco Tortoise, Geochelone chllensls (unpublished). 
Slavens, F.L. (1985). Inventory of live reptiles and amphibians In captivity, 

current January 1, 198S. F.L. Slavens. Seattle, Washington, 341 pp. 
Waller, T. (1986). Distribucion, habitat y registro de localidades para 

Geochelone chllensls (Gray, 1870) (Syn. donosobarrosl , petersl) 

(Testudines, Testudinidae). Amphibia & Reptilia (Conservaclon 1(2): 

36-48. 



LEOPARD TORTOISE Recommended list: 2* 

[Potential problem] 
GBOchelone pardalls (Bell, 1828) 

Order TESTUDINES Family TESTUDINIDAE 

*The category has been changed from 3 to 2 since approval by the CITES TEC 
Meeting in 1986 owing to the increased trade reported in 1985. 

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS A widely distributed species occurring over much of 
southern and eastern Africa from Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia south through 
Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, southern Angola, 
Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia to South Africa. Two subspecies have been 
recognised but their validity is disputed. Likely to be relatively rare in 
easily accessible areas, although no data are available on population size. 
An inhabitant of coastal plains and upland savanna, this species is primarily 
herbivorous. Breeding tak.es place in spring in South Africa and over a longer 
period elsewhere. Up to thirty eggs are laid. Threats to this species appear 
to be hunting for food (eggs and meat) and possibly capture for the pet 
trade. It breeds readily in captivity. 

The apparent minimum trade volume reported to CITES for the period 1980-1985 
was 3392 specimens, virtually all live animals. Tanzania was the major 
exporter in 1985, taking the place of Kenya which predominated in 1980 and 
1981. F.R. Germany and the USA were the principal importers. Trade increased 
sharply in 1985, mostly because of exports from Tanzania to F.R. Germany and 
the USA. The species is theoretically protected in Tanzania. 

It seems unlikely that the overall trade leveT.s reported to CITES pose a 
significant threat to the species, but the apparent sudden rise in illegal 
exports from Tanzania, and to a lesser extent Kenya, is of concern. They may 
be in response to the prohibition on imports of European tortoises to the EEC 
imposed in 1986. 

DISTRIBUTION Widely distributed over much of southern and western Africa, 
having been reported from Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia south through Kenya, 
Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, southern Angola, Zimbabwe, 
Botswana, Namibia to South Africa, possibly including Lesotho and Swaziland 
(Loveridge and Williams, 1957; Greig and Burdett, 1976). Two subspecies are 
recognised, although Greig and Burdett (1976) doubt their validity. However, 
Pritchard (1979) was of the opinion that further study would lead to naming of 
more such taxa. 

G. pardalls pardalls Now only known from Namibia, though it may previously 
have occurred in South Africa. Although there are reports to the contrary, 
it does not occur in Angola (Loveridge and Williams, 1957). This subspcies is 
not thought to be distinct from G. p. babcockl (South African CITES MA, 
1987). 

Namibia Probably only south of the line from near Luderitz Bay to 
Keetmanshoop (Pritchard, 1979; Loveridge and Williams, 1957). It may. 
however, occur as far north as Rehoboth (Loveridge and Williams, 1957). 

South Africa In the past it probably also occurred within South Africa, 
possibly as far south as the Cape of Good Hope, and around the Oliphants River 
(Loveridge and Williams, 1957). 



GeocheloTte pardalls 

G. p. babcockl More widely distributed and occurs from Sudan, Ethiopia and 
Somalia, southward through Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, 
Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Angola, to Namibia and South Africa. Loveridge 
and Williams (1957) refuted reports from Madagascar and the Senegambia region. 

Angola Recorded inland from Benguela, Capangombe, Cubal, Dombodola, Forte 
Rocadas, Mopa and the interior of Mossamedes. Absent from the north of the 
country (Loveridge and Williams, 1957). 

Botswana Recorded from Gemsbok, Kalahari, Magalapsi, Malcarikari, Maun, 
Serowe, Shaleshonto, Shorobe, Tsotsoroga Pan and Hababe Flats (Loveridge and 
Williams, 1957; Greig and Burdett, 1976). 

Ethiopia Recorded from the south of the country at: Ado-Shebeli Valley, 
Araro, Arenda, Artu, Arussi Gallaland, Boorgha, Caschei, Dabas , En, Erre, 
Javello, Lake Abaya, Lake Zwai, Neghelli, Shoa, Sibi, Harrar, Soddu, 
(Loveridge and Williams, 1957). 

Kenya Recorded from numerous localities from around the country (Loveridge 
and Williams, 1957). Widespread in drier savannah, though not deserts (A. 
Mackay, In lltt., 26 March 1986). 

Lesotho The species is said to occur in Lesotho (Ministry of Agriculture 
and Marketing, Lesotho, m lltt., 1985), although Greig and Burdett (1976) 
located no records, and Branch and Brack (1987) indicate that it may be absent. 

Malawi Occurs south of the Mwanza River and west of the Shire in both 
Chikwawa and Port Herald Districts (Loveridge and Williams, 1957). 

Mozambique Recorded from Cape Delgado, Kasumbadedza, Sena and Tete 
(Loveridge and Williams, 1957). The species is said to be widespread 
throughout the country (Mozambique CITES MA, 1986). 

Namibia Recorded from several localities, it meets with G. p. pardalls in 
southern Namibia, but is dominant north of 25°S (Loveridge, 1957). 

Somalia Recorded from Hargeisa, Nogal Valley, Toyo Plain, between Bardale 
and Condut, Pozzi-Ircudt , Jet, "Sahaaieroi" (Loveridge and Williams, 1957). 

South Africa Recorded from Natal, Transvaal, and numerous localities in the 
Cape Province (Loveridge and Williams, 1957). There are no records from the 
Western Cape, the central Cape Karroid areas, the highveld regions of the 
Orange Free State, southern Natal or Transkei (Greig and Burdett, 1976; Branch 
and Braak, 1987). Transport and release of pets around the country regularly 
occurs and results in their occurrence in semi-urban areas (Greig and Burdett, 
1976). This may mask any local genetic variation (South Africa CITES MA, 
1987) . 

Sudan Recorded from the south of the country at: Bahr el Ghazal, Bahr el 
Jebel, Bor, Gondokoro, Lado Enclave and Mongalla (Loveridge and Williams, 
1957) . 

Swaziland Recorded as being included in the distribution (Groombridge, 
1983), but no records have been located although it occurs very close to the 
border (Greig and Burdett, 1976). 

Tanzania Recorded from numerous localities from around the country 
(Loveridge and Williams, 1957). Said to be widespread (K. Howell, in lltt., 
15 March 1986) . 



Geochelone pardalls 

Uganda Recorded from Mount Debasien (Loveridge and Williams, 1957). Said 
to occur widely throughout the country (Uganda Game Department, In lltt., 
1987). 

Zambia Recorded from Luangwa River and Pitauke (Loveridge and Williams, 
1957). Said to be widespread throughout the country but absent above 1 830 m 
on the Nyika Plateau (Wilson, 1968). 

Zimbabwe Recorded from Birchenough Bridge, Sabi River, Gwamayaya River and 
Mount Darwin (Loveridge and Williams, 1957; Greig ana Burdett, 1976). 

POPULATION Little information is available regarding the current status of 
the populations of this species. Loveridge and Williams (1957) did not 
provide evidence to suggest that C. p. babcockl was rare, indeed they quote 
Peel's (1900) observation of "an army of monsters migrating across the 
desert". Pritchard (1979) reported that, in easily accessible areas. Leopard 
Tortoises may be relatively rare. 



Angola No information. 

Botswana No information. 

Ethiopia No information. 

Kenya The species is widespread, but never occurs in large numbers 
(A. Mackay, In lltt., 26 March 1986). 

Malawi No information. 

Mozambique The species is said to be abundant in Gorongosa National Park 
and the Gile Game Reserve, common in Banhine and Zinave National Parks and 
Niassa Game Reserve, and rare in Maputo and Marromeu Game Reserves. It has 
declined and is now rare in cultivated areas. As the species is actively 
hunted for food (Mozambique CITES MA, 1986), it is likely to have come under 
severe pressure in the recent famine. 

Namibia Said to be abundant in Etosha and fairly abundant in other 
conservation areas in the north-east (Bushmanland , Kavango, etc.). It is 
locally extinct in all communal areas (Department of Agriculture and Nature 
Conservation, Namibia, in lltt., 1987). 

Somalia No information. 

South Africa Said to be very common in the eastern Cape Province, and the 
lowveld regions of Transvaal, but scarce elsewhere (Branch and Brack, 1987). 

Sudan No information. 

Tanzania Not considered threatened in Tanzania (K. Howell, In lltt., 15 
March 1986) . 

Uganda No information. 

Zambia Said to be common throughout the country (Wilson, 1968). 

Zimbabwe Broadley (.In lltt., 18 March 1986) considered this tortoise to 
be scarce near densely populated communal lands but common in sparsely 
inhabited areas. 



Geocbelone paxdalls 

HABITAT AKD ECOLOGY Leopard Tortoises inhabit coastal plains and upland 
savanna and may be found in rather sandy, thornbush steppes and on Icopjes and 
stone strewn hills with scattered scrub. Not found in of primary forest. 
G. p. babcockl is often found on mountain masses, and has been recorded at a 
height of 9 000-10 000 feet on Mt . Elgon, Uganda (Loveridge and Williams, 
1957). The diet includes grasses, a variety of succulents, also fallen fruit 
and crop plants such as beans and watermelons (sources in Pritchard, 1979). 
The species can apparently exist without water for long periods. 

Males compete for females in the breeding season by pushing and butting. 
Nesting takes place in spring in South Africa (September-October) but the 
season is longer in tropical Africa. Nest holes vary in size to a maximum 
recorded depth of 1 foot and may contain up to 30 eggs. These hatch in 8-18 
months depending on the weather conditions (Loveridge and Williams, 1957). 
Leopard Tortoises appear to have a well developed homing ability and have been 
observed moving en masse (Peel, 1900 in Loveridge and Williams, 1957; 
Pritchard, 1979). 

THREATS TO SURVIVAL Flooding and grass fire have both been identified as 
the cause of deaths of large numbers of leopard tortoises They are preyed on 
by a variety of animals - crows, ground hornbills, ratels, hyenas and soldier 
ants, and eggs may be dug up and devoured by jackals, dogs, and viverrids 
(Loveridge and Williams, 1957). The food value of G. p. pardalls may have 
led to its extermination in parts of the Cape (Loveridge and Williams, 1957). 
Bushmen also prize G. p. babcockl for it.s shell which may be used for 
ladling or holding water and also to make snuffboxes (Fi tzs immons , 1935 in 
Loveridge and Williams, 1957). 

Botswana Auerbach (1985) reports that this species is prized by man for its 
meat, eggs and shell. 

Kenya In Kenya generally the species seems to little persecuted, if at all, 
and is often accorded a respectful title, such as "tortoise elder' (A. Hackay, 
In lltt. , 26 March 1986) . 

Lesotho There is said to be no trade in any wild fauna in Lesotho (Ministry 
of Agriculture and Marketing, Lesotho, In lltt., 1985). 

Mozambique The species is not traded but is said to be actively hunted for 
food and to be particularly depleted by fires which are common in cultivated 
areas for bush clearance (Mozambique CITES MA, 1986). 

Namibia The species has been hunted for food to the point of extinction in 
all communal areas. Hunting also occurs to a lesser extent in other areas 
(Department of Agriculture and Nature Conservation, Namibia, In lltt., 1987). 

South Africa Greig and Burdett (1976) reported that the meat and eggs of 
G. pardalls were highly regarded in some areas; and attributed its absence 
from the western Cape to past persecution. Branch and Braak (1987) suggested 
that the absence from southern Natal and Transkei might be similarly due to 
human predation. They reported that one tortoise had died after becoming 
trapped in an Aardvark hole. 

Tanzania G. pardalls is said not to be persecuted in Tanzania, though 
increasing numbers are exported for the live pet trade (K. Howell, In lltt., 
15 March 1986) . 

Uganda Some tribes consider this species a delicacy, mainly in the north of 
the country and Karamoja, but there is little other persecution. No trade has 
been reported (Game Department, Uganda, In lltt., 1987). 



Geochelone parddiis 

IWTERWATIOWAL TRADE Listed on CITES Appendix II. The principal data 
available relating to international trade are those contained in the Annual 
Reports of the Parties to CITES. These are summarized in Tables 1 and 2. 

Table 1: Minimum net imports of live Geochelone pardalls reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Australia 






6 « 








Austria 


- 


4 


_ 


- 


- 


4 


Canada 


- 


- 


_ 


- 


- 


4 


Denmark 


4 


2 


- 


- 


- 


- 


Dominica 


4 


- 


- 


- 


- 


- 


Dominican Rep. 


- 


1 


- 


- 


- 


- 


German D.R. 


10 


- 


- 


- 


- 


2 


Germany, F.R. 


345 


9 


2 


_ 


_ 


1009 


Israel 


- 


_ 


- 


- 


- 


1 


Japan 


- 


- 


- 


10 


12 


71 


Namibia 


- 


- 


- 


- 


1 


- 


Switzerland 


82 


260 


- 


- 


- 


16 


UK 


1 


34 


- 


4 


- 


3 


USA 


376 


413 


4 


81 


35 


558 


Total 


822 


723 


12 


95 


48 


1675 



Table 2: Reported countries of origin (or exporting country if no original 
source reported) and quantities of export of live Geochelone pardalls 
reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Countries having or possibly having wild populations of G. pardalls 



Kenya 


736 


617 


Namibia 


66 


10 


Somalia 


- 


- 


South Africa 


- 


2 


Tanzania 


- 


- 


Uganda 


- 


2 


Zimbabwe 


- 


- 



34 « 
150 



41 



6 « 



Countries without wild populations of G. pardalls 
4 - - 

3 
* Captive-bred 



Australia 
Germany, F.R. 
Country unknown 



100 

2 

1497 

18 



1 « 



Over 99% of all imports were live specimens, presumably mostly destined for 
the pet trade. The principal importers of G. pardalls were the USA and F.R. 
Germany. Imports dropped substantially in the years 1982, 1983 and 1984, but 
rose to a peak in 1985. 



Geochelone pArdalls 

Kenya was the principal exporter until 1981 when an export ban was imposed, 
after which few exports were indicated. In 1983 and 1985, Tanzania was the 
source of the great majority of G. pardaiis. South Africa principally 
exported captive-bred specimens. F.R. Germany re-exported a large number of 
animals notably to the GDR and Switzerland in 1980 and 1981. 

The precise effects of the trade in this species cannot be fully assessed due 
to lack of population data. It seems unlikely that the total reported trade 
could cause significant long-term depletion of the species, or of many local 
populations. However, the recent rise in exports reported from Tanzania is of 
potential concern, partially because such exports are theoretically prohibited 
and partially because they may be a response to the EEC prohibition on import 
of European tortoises (q.v.) imposed in 1984. To a lesser extent, exports 
from Kenya also appear to have risen in 1984 and 1985. 

COWSERVATION MEASURES Unless otherwise stated, all information on legal 
protection status is from African Wildlife Laws by lUCN Environmental Law 
Centre. There is no information on protection in other countries within the 
range, namely Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Sudan, Uganda and Zambia. 

Ethiopia G. pardalls is totally protected under the Wildlife Conservation 
Regulations, 19 January 1972. It may only be hunted for scientific purposes. 

Kenya In 1981, Kenya prohibited the export of G. pardalls without the 
written permission of the Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources 
(Legal Notice 152; 25 September, 1981). Occurs in Tsavo East, Tsavo West, 
Meru and Nairobi National Parks (A. Mackay , In lltt., 26 March 1986). 

Lesotho All tortoises are protected under Proclamation of Monuments, 
Relics, Fauna and Flora, L.N. 36 of 1969. There is said to be no trade in any 
wild fauna in Lesotho (Ministry of Agriculture and Marketing, Lesotho, In 
lltt. , 1985) . 

Mozambique The species is not protected in Mozambique (Mozambique CITES MA, 
1986) . 

Namibia Protected by the Nature Conservation Ordinance. Occurs in all 
Nature Conservation areas (Department of Agriculture and Nature Conservation, 
Namibia, in lltt., 1987). 

Somalia The hunting of all wildlife is prohibited in Somalia under a ban 
enacted on 13 October 1977. 

South Africa Fully protected in Natal under Nature Conservation Ordinance, 
No. 15 of 1976, Proc. 164/1974. Also protected in Transvaal, Cape Province 
and the Orange Free State. Occurs in several protected areas (South Africa 
CITES MA, 1987) . 

Tanzania G. pardalls is totally protected under Wildlife Conservation 
(National Game) Order, 1974. 

Zimbabwe G. pardalls is not specially protected. 

CAPTIVE BREEDING Honegger (1980) reported that this species breeds readily 
in captivity. Loveridge and Williams (1957) described the breeding behaviour 
of several captive specimens of G. p. bahcockl . Leakey (in Loveridge and 
Williams, 1957) reported that mating was a common occurrence among captive 
tortoises of this subspecies. There has been extensive captive breeding in 



10 



Geochelone pazdalis 

South Africa, one person having bred over 200. Up to 1981, there were 1985 in 
captivity in Transvaal alone; permit records showed that there were at least 
1500 in captivity in the Cape Province in 1987 (South Africa CITES MA, 1987). 
Commonly breeds in semi-captivity in gardens in Windhoek., Namibia (Department 
of Agriculture and Nature Conservation, Namibia, In lltt., 1987). 

A recent inventory by Slavens (1985) reported that G. p bAbcockl is 
maintained in 9 localities and C. pardalls ssp. in a further 19 
collections. A total of 80 specimens was maintained in these localities but 
total numbers in captivity may be higher. Several members of the California 
Turtle Club have bred this species in large numbers (P.H.C. Pritchard, in 
lltt., 29 December 1987). 

REFERENCES 

Auerbach, R.D. (1985). The Reptiles of Gaborone. Botswana Book Centre, 

Gaborone, 47 pp. 
Branch, W.R and Brack, H.H. (1987). Reptiles and amphibians of the Addo 

Elephant National Park. Koedoe 30: 61-111. 
Greig, J.C. and Burdett, P.D. (1976). Patterns in the distribution of 

southern African terrestrial tortoises (Cryptodira: Testudinidae) . 

Zoologlca Afrlcana 11: 249-273. 
Groombridge, B. (1983). Uorld checklist of threatened amphibians and 

reptiles. 3rd edition. Nature Conservancy Council, UK, 65 pp. 
Honegger, R.E. (1980). Geochelone pardalls, CITES Identification Manual. 
Loveridge A. (1957). Checklist of the reptiles and amphibians of East Africa 

(Uganda; Kenya; Tanganyika; Zanzibar). Bulletin of the Museum of 

Comparative Zoology 117(2): 153-362. 
Loveridge, A. and Williams, E.E. (1957). Revision of the African tortoises 

and turtles of the suborder Cryptodira. Bulletin of the Museum of 

Comparative Zoology 115(6): 163-557. 
Pritchard, P.C.H. (1979). Encyclopaedia of Turtles. TFH Publications. 

895 pp. 
Slavens, F.L. (1985). Inventory of live reptiles and amphibians In captivity 

current January 1, 198S. F.L. Slavens, Seattle, Washington, 341pp. 
Wilson, V.J. (1968). The Leopard Tortoise, Testudo pardalls babcockl , in 

eastern Zambia. Arnoldla (RhodeslaJ 3(40): 1-11. 



11 



PANCAKE TORTOISE Reconmended list: 3* 

[No problem] 

Malacochersus Cornieri (Slebenrock., 1903) 

Order TESTUDINES Family TESTUDINAE 

*See last sentence of Summary and Conclusions 



SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS A small, terrestrial tortoise, inhabiting 
scattered rocky areas in southern Kenya and north and east Tanzania. Reported 
to be declining in number, no precise estimates are available. Present 
populations are in areas with fairly dense human populations. Occurs in the 
Ruaha National Park, Tanzania. This species is maintained in captivity and 
apparently breeds readily. Listed as 'Insufficiently Known' in the lUCN 
Amphibia-Reptilia Red Data Book.. 

Until 1981, Kenya exported virtually all animals in trade, F.R. Germany and 
the USA taking most of these. From 1982 to 1984, only 1 captive specimen was 
reported in trade, but the USA reported importing 65 specimens from Tanzania 
in 1985. There is further evidence of continuing and possibly increasing 
exports from Tanzania in 1987. Kenyan legislation appears to have effectively 
controlled the trade. Although the species is also protected in Tanzania, and 
so the recent exports appear to have been illegal. 

The reported trade cannot be said to pose a problem to the species; however 
there may be increasing trade from Tanzania. The suggested 'C3' listing rests 
upon the continuation of Kenya's export ban, and the absence of a substantial 
illegal trade from Tanzania. 

DISTRIBUTION Confined to Kenya and Tanzania. 

Kenya Present in isolated localities in southern Kenya, south of a line 
joining Njoro in the west and Malindi on the coast (Loveridge and Williams, 
1957) although R. Wood (pers. conim. to P.C.H. Pritchard) reported a specimen 
from 29 km west of Isiolo in the Samburu district, and pointed out that the 
distribution was much wider than had previously been realised (see Pritchard, 
1987). Recent available reports are from the Kitui District (Kenya). There 
is some doubt over the veracity of Loveridge* s reports of the species from 
Njoro and Mida Creek (A.D. Mackay, In iitt., 26 March 1986). 

Tanzania Found in north and east Tanzania (from Lake Victoria to Lindi near 
the Mozambique border (Loveridge and Williams, 1957). Recent available 
reports are from the Dodoma District and the Ruaha National Park (Tanzania). 
There is some doubt over the veracity of Loveridge' s reports of the species 
from Njoro and Mida Creek (A.D. Mackay, In lltt., 26 March 1986). 

POPULATION No precise estimates available, but reported to be declining 
(C.E. Norris, In lltt., 31 January 1981) and threatened in some degree 
(Honneger, 1979). 

Kenya Reported by local informants to be still fairly abundant In Kitui 
District (A.D. Mackay, In lltt., 26 February 1981), where a healthy 
population exists in the gneissic inselbergs around Mwingl (A.D. Mackay, In 
lltt., 26 March 1986). R. Wood (see Pritchard, 1987) reported that they were 
"not really rare" and that a helathy population existed in an area where 
tortoises had previously been heavily collected. 

Tanzania Said to be quite frequently encountered in Ruaha National Park, 
Tanzania (K. Howell, In lltt., 1 January 198A). Eleven individuals were 
once found under one rock; so density may be locally high (Loveridge, 1923). 

12 



Halacocbersus tornieri 

HABITAT AND gCOLOCY A small (around 160-180 nm carapace length) terrestrial 
tortoise, inhabiting rocky hills (kopjes) and outcrops in arid thornbush or 
savanna, from 30 m to 1800 m altitude. The species may aestivate in hot 
weather and apparently remains in shelter during the day (Loveridge and 
Williams, 1957). In the wild, dry grass has been recorded as a food item and 
probably a variety of vegetation is consumed. Mating occurs in January and 
February and nesting in July or August. The clutch comprises a single egg (c 
47 X 28 mm), one or two clutches may be laid per year (Pritchard, 1979). 

THREATS TO SORVrVAL Exploitation for the pet trade has been the chief 
threat, but Wood reported (see Pritchard, 1987) that this had virtually ceased 
in Kenya, and considered that the clearance of thorn scrub for agricultural 
purposes was now the most serious threat. The presently known populations are 
in areas with fairly dense human populations and are particularly vulnerable 
(A.D. Mackay, In lltt., 26 February 1981). 

IWTERNATIOWAL TRADE The Pancake Tortoise has been moderately exploited for 
the pet trade (Groombr idge , 1982; Honegger, 1979; Norris, 1980). The only 
available data on international trade in this species are those contained in 
the Annual Reports of the Parties to CITES which are summarized below. 

Table 1 Minimum net imports of live Malacochersus tocnlerl reported to 
CITES. All figures represent live wild specimens except when marked with an 
asterisk when captive bred. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



German D.R. 


10 


2 


Germany, F.R. 


123 


212 


Japan 


- 


6 


Switzerland 


9 


19 


UK 


- 


30 


USA 


59 


318 


Total 


201 


587 



1* 
1 



65 
65 



Table 2 Reported countries of origin (or exporting country if no original 
source reported) and quantities of transactions of live Malacochersus 
tornlerl reported to CITES. « captive-bred. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Countries having or possibly having populations of M. tornlerl 



Kenya 
Tanzania 



196 



567 



65 



Countries without populations of M. tornlerl 



Germany, F.R. 
Country unknown 



1* 



20 



13 



Malacochersus tornlerl 

International trade in this species principally occurred in 1980-1981. The 
only other transaction in wild animals occurred in 1985. 

Kenya exported 971t of the known exports; the USA and F.R. Germany were the 
principal importers. Since Kenya prohibited export in 1981, there have been 
no reports of tortoises originating in Kenya. Pritchard (in iitt., 29 
December 1987) reported substantial exports from Tanzania in 1987, one 
exporter alone having 300 ready for export. He noted many in stock at pet 
wholesalers in Florida, USA, but considered that the market might be 
saturated, as the price per animal had fallen from US$300 to US$40 (Pritchard, 
1987). There were indications in 1987 that the trade in Europe might be 
increasing D. Morgan, pers. comm. ) and this may be in response to the ban on 
trade in European species. 

CONSERVATION MEASURES Listed as 'Insufficiently Known' in the lUCN Red Data 
Book (Groombridge, 1982). 

Kenya In 1981, Kenya prohibited the export of H. tornlerl without the 
written permission of the Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources 
(Legal Notice 152; 25 September, 1981). 

Tanzania The Pancake Tortoise is totally protected under Wildlife 
Conservation (National Game) Order, 1974. It occurs within the Ruaha National 
Park, Tanzania (K. Howell, In lltt., 1 January 198A). 

CAPTIVE BREEDING Numerous individuals occur in zoos and private collections 
(Honegger, 1979). In a recent inventory, Slavens (1985) listed 9 collections 
containing 26 specimens. Total numbers in captivity are likely to be higher. 
The species has been bred in captivity (Shaw, 1970), and breeding potential is 
good under suitable conditions (Honegger, 1979). Breeding may take place at 
any time of the year in captivity. Captive animals accept a wide variety of 
fruits and vegetables. 

REFERENCES 

Groombridge, B. (1982). The Reptllla-Amphlbla Red Data Book. lUCN Gland and 

Cambridge, 426 pp. 
Honegger, R. (1979). Red Data Book, Vol. 3. Amphibia and Reptllla. lUCN, 

Gland (third edition, revised). 
Loveridge, A. (1923). Notes on East African tortoises collected 1921-1923, 

with the description of a new species of soft-shelled tortoise. 

Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1923: 923-933. 
Loveridge, A., and Williams, E.E. (1957). Revision of the African tortoises 

and turtles of the Suborder Cryptodira. Bulletin of the Museum of 

Comparative Zoology 115(6): 163-577. 
Norris, C.E. (1980). Excerpts from the report on trade in fauna and flora in 

Kenya for 1979. Traffic (International) Bulletin 11(7): 61-68. 
Pritchard, P.C.H. (1979). Encyclopaedia of Turtles. T.F.H. Publications, 

Hong Kong, 895 pp. 
Pritchard, P.C.H. (1987). Pancake Tortoise survey. lUCN Tortoise and 

Freshwater Turtle Specialists Group Newsletter 2: 4-5. 
Shaw, C.E. (1970). The hardy (and prolific) soft-shelled tortoises. 

International Turtle and Tortoise Society Journal 4(1): 6-9, 30-31. 
Slavens, F.L. (1985). Inventory of live reptiles and amphibians In captivity 

current January 1, 2985. F.L. Slavens, Seattle, Washington, 341 pp. 



14 



SPUR-THIGHED TORTOISE 

Testudo graeca (Linnaeus, 1758) 

Order TESTUDINES 



Recommended list: 2 
[Possible problem) 



Family TESTUDINIDAE 



SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS A medium size terrestrial tortoise. Present in a 
variety of habitats including open woodland, scrub, heath, dunes and 
semi-desert. Widespread in countries bordering the Mediterranean and in the 
Middle East. Recorded from: Algeria, Bulgaria, Egypt, Greece, Iran, Iraq, 
Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Romania, Spain, Syria, Tunisia, 
Turkey, USSR, Yugoslavia. Introduced to Cyprus, France and Italy. 
Populations in North Africa depleted in areas of heavy commercial collecting, 
also threatened by habital destruction. Depleted in Spain. The nominate 
subspecies is classified as Vulnerable in the lUCN Amphibia-Reptilia Red Data 
Book.. 

Legally protected in several countries. Import into the EEC region prohibited 
since 1986. This appears to have resulted in the virtual cessation of 
T. graeca trade reported to CITES, with numbers falling from an annual mean 
of 63 033 in 1980-1983 to 321 in 1985. 

There seems little doubt that populations could not sustain the level of 
exploitation existing previously. If trade has indeed fallen to levels 
recorded by CITES, it can no longer be considered a problem; however, the 
apparent decline should be substantiated, and trade with non-EEC countries 
should be monitored to ensure that it does not show a compensatory increase. 

DISTRIBUTION Widespread in countries bordering the Mediterranean and in the 
Middle East. Recorded from: Algeria, Bulgaria, Egypt, Greece, Iran, Iraq, 
Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Romania, Spain, Syria, Tunisia, 
Turkey, USSR, Yugoslavia. Introduced to Cyprus, France and Italy. Not 
present on Malta (Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, In lltt., 1985). 
Testudo graeca is so named because the appearance of the carapace scales 
reminded Linnaeus of a Greek mosaic, it is not the typical and widespread 
tortoise in Greece; the subspecies T. g. Ibera is named after Iberia in 
Transcaucasia and not the Iberian Peninsula (Pritchard, 1979). 

Four sub-species are generally recognised (Wermuth and Mertens, 1977), 
although the race from the Western Transcaucasus (USSR) has recently been 
described as a fifth (Khikvadze and Tuniev, 1986). 

Testudo graeca graeca: Native to North Africa and Spain; introduced to Italy 
and France. 

Algeria Confined to the north of the country (Loveridge and Williams, 1957; 
Lambert, 1983). 

Egypt A single specimen is recorded from El Daba, north-west of El Alamein 
(Lambert, 1983). 

France Introduced along the south coast (G.H. Parent, In lltt., 1980; 
J. P. Rische, pers. comm. , 1980). 

Italy Introduced into peninsular Italy, Sicily and probably Sardinia (Bruno 
and Maugeri , 1977) . 

Libya Extending eastwards to Cyrenaica (Lambert, 1983) including Kouf 
National Park, where it intergrades with T. g. terrestrls (Schleich, 1984). 



15 



Testudo graeca 

Morocco Widespread below 1900 m, but absent from the southern part of the 
Moroccan Atlantic plateau and from the arid areas in the south and south-east 
(Lambert, 1983). 

Spain Occurs in isolated colonies in southern Spain (Murcia-Almeria, Goto 
de Donana Reserve and possibly the la Mancia-New Castille Region), south-west 
Mallorca and possibly the Pityusen Islands (Ibiza and Formentera) (Lopez 
Jurado et aj . , 1979) . 

Tunisia Found in the north (Loveridge and Williams, 1957; Lambert, 1983). 



T. g. Ibera: From northern Greece, thgrough Asia Minor to western Iran. 

Albania Listed as present (CITES, 1980), but no records have been located. 

Bulgaria Widespread south-east of a line from Zemen to Novgrad (Honegger, 
1981; Beshkov, 1984). 

Cyprus Isolated specimens have been recorded, but it is doubtful that they 
are indigenous (Demetropoulos and Hadj ichristophorou, 1981). 

Greece Found in parts of north-eastern Greece, Samothrace, Samos, and 
certain other islands (with a questionable record from Euboea) (Gruber, 1982), 

Iran Confined to the west of the country (Anderson, 1979; Lambert, 1980). 

Iraq Found in the north (Mahdi and Georg, 1969; Anderson, 1979). 

Romania Occurs in the coastal range to the east of the Danube (Fuhn and 
Vaneca, 1961). 

Syria Anderson (1979) maps the distribution as passing just outside the 
north-eastern border, but Lambert (1980) claimed that this subspecies had been 
recorded from Syria. 

Turkey Widespread, but absent from the Black Sea Coast to the north of the 
Pontic Alps (Basgolu and Baran, 1977; Lambert, 1980). Meets with 
T. g. terrestrls in the south-east (Anderson, 1979). 

USSR Occurs in the eastern Caucasus on the Caspian coast (Bannikov et 
al . , 1977; Lambert, 1980). The race from the Western Transcaucasus has 
recently been described as T.g. nlkolskll (Khikvadze and Tuniev, 1986). 

Yugoslavia Apparently confined to the mountains in southern Macedonia, 
although there may be an introduced population in the north (Iverson, 1986). 

T. g. terrestrls: Around the eastern Mediterranean, from southern Turkey to 
Egypt. 

Egypt Confined to the north of the country from the Libyan border to Sinai 
(Wermuth and Mertens, 1977, Schleich, 1984). 

Israel Found almost throughout the northern half of the country in 
cultivated as well as natural areas (Israel CITES MA, 1987; Mendelssohn. 
1983). 

Jordan Restricted to the Upper Jordan valley and Mediterranean habitats 
(Jordan CITES MA, 1986). 

16 



Testudo graeca 

Lebanon Wermuth and Mertens (1977) indicate that the range of this 

subspecies would include Lebanon, but no records have been located. Lambert 

(1980) claimed that T. g. Ibera had been recorded from Lebanon, but it seems 
that there may have been confusion over the subspecies. 

Libya Schleich (1984) confirmed that T. g. terrestrls occurs in the Kouf 
National Park, in the north-east of Libya, together with T. g. graeca. 

Syria Anderson (1979) indicates that this subspecies occurs in the north 
and east of Syria. 

Turlcey Confined to the south-east of Anatolia (Wermuth and Mertens, 1977; 
Anderson, 1979). 

T. g. zarudnyl: found only in eastern-central Iran, on the Central Plateau. 
Although it occurs close to the border, there are no records from Pakistan 
(Anderson, 1979). 

POPULATION Said to be severely depleted in some western parts of the range, 
most notably in Morocco, also parts of Algeria. No details are available for 
the greater part of the species's range. 

Algeria In the last century, tortoises were reported to be extremely common 
in northern Algeria. Tortoises have been collected in the Gran region for 
export to France as pets since the end of the last century (Lambert, 1980; 
J. P. Rische, pers . comm. , 1980). In a 10-hour search in the Gran region one 
recent worker reported finding only one individual (Lambert, 1980). Elsewhere 
the species would appear to be relatively abundant. In some regions, 
tortoises are reported to be found at sighting frequencies of 4 to 10 per hour 
(Anon., 1981). Still found in reasonable numbers in the Algiers region, 
despite well developed agriculture (Lambert, 1980). 

Bulgaria Formerly widespread, but now depleted in places, particularly the 
lowlands (Beshkov. 1984). Tortoises had virtually been eliminated from the 
south-west of the country in the 1960s but populations have since recovered 
slightly (T. Belokapova, in lltt., 20 April 1987). 

Cyprus Only isolated specimens have been recorded (Demetropoulos and 
Hadj ichristophorou, 1981). 

France Introduced. Population status uncertain, not clear if regular 
breeding occurs (G.H. Parent, In lltt., 1980; J. P. Rische. pers. comm., 
1980) . 

Greece Population status in general appears satisfactory, although the 
species is potentially threatened by collecting (Gruber, 1982). 

Israel No surveys have been made but T. graeca populations are said to be 
healthy and substantial and there is no indication that they are declining 
(Israel CITES MA, 1987) . 

Italy Introduced to peninsular Italy. Sicily, probably also into Sardinia 
(Bruno and Maugeri, 1977). Uncertain if regular breeding occurs in all 
localities. Precise status unknown, considered rare (M. Capula, In lltt., 
1980) and threatened (S. Bruno, In lltt., 1980; M.G. Di Palma. In lltt., 
1980). A study conducted in April 1986 classified them as vulnerable (Italy 
CITES MA, 1987) . 

Jordan The total population is estimated at 10 000-15 000 (Jordan CITES MA. 
1986). 

17 



Testudo graeca 

Morocco Traditionally supplied most specimens for the pet trade in Europe 
until 1978 when Morocco ratified CITES and banned the export of all wild 
animals including tortoises. At its peak the trade exported several hundred 
thousand tortoises annually. Populations now severely depleted. In heavily 
collected areas tortoises are now scarce: one worker recorded an average 
sighting frequency of 0.41 per man-hour in June 1978 (Lambert, 1980). 
Comparisons between west Turkey and Morocco suggest that collection over the 
last 80 years could have reduced abundance by as much as 90% in some areas 
(Lambert, 1980). 

Spain Populations exist at low densities and have disappeared from many 
areas of the peninsula (Andrada, 1980). The western population in the Donana 
National Park is said to be secure, but populations to the east, in the 
provinces of Almeria and Murcia, are much sparser (Spain CITES MA, 1987). 
Despite reports of the species's presence on the Pityusen Islands (Ibiza and 
Formentera) , populations do not appear to exist at present, or at least are 
represented by very few individuals, possibly escaped animals (Lopez Jurado 
et ai. , 1979) . 

Tunisia In the nineteenth century tortoises were reported to be common on 
the Tunisian plains. In the past small numbers have been exported to Italy 
(Lambert, 1980). It is said to be common throughout the coastal zone and in 
the central plains (Tunisia CITES MA, 1987). 

No information is available for remaining countries within the range: Egypt, 
Iran, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Libya, Romania, Syria, Turkey, Yugoslavia. 

HABITAT AMD ECOLOGY A medium sized terrestrial species, large individuals 
reaching more than 25 cm in length. Found in a variety of habitats, including 
sparsely vegetated coastal heathlands, sand dunes, semi-desert areas, and 
Mediterranean woodlands, often with Cork Oak Quercus saber and Ilex 
Q. 12ex. Ranges up to 1900 m in Morocco. Mainly herbivorous. The species 
hibernates during the winter but may emerge temporarily during warm days. 
Emerges finally as early as February in hot coastal areas. Mating occurs in 
the spring and eggs are usually laid in May and June (reported to be June and 
July in Israel). Clutch size ranges from 2-5, egg size approximately 3x4 
cm. Although survival is possible in the higher latitudes of north-west 
Europe, the success of reproduction is limited by insolation generally being 
insufficient for incubation and hatchling survival (Lambert, 1983; Pritchard, 
1979). 

THREATS TO SURVIVAL The main threats to this species are habitat 
destruction and bulk trade collection. Habitat destruction is particularly 
significant in the Mediterranean coastal belt where large scale tourist 
development is occurring. Agricultural habitat modification also influences 
reproductive success (Lambert, 1981). Large-scale collection for the pet 
trade has resulted in populations in northwest Africa being severely depleted; 
numbers may have been reduced by as much as 90% in some areas. Selective size 
collection both to meet voluntary agreements in the U.K. and to maximize 
profits has had an effect on the size and weight of tortoises remaining in the 
wild. In general, tortoises in areas of heavy collection tend to be smaller 
and lighter. Females tend to be larger than males and selective collection of 
the middle size range may have resulted in small males being left to mate with 
especially large females. This may affect reproductive success (Lambert, 
1980, 1981). Following Morocco's ban on tortoise exports the bulk of this 
trade has switched to Turkey (Anon., 1981). Studies in Germany suggest that 
after arrival in northern Europe more than 801 of imported tortoises die in 
the first year. This is mainly due to stress caused by transportation, poor 
conditions in pet shops, and disease and parasite attacks encouraged by 
unsuitable climate (Anon., 1981; Lambert, 1980). A further threat may be 

18 



Testudo graeca 

posed by the desertification of the range; the northward extention of the 
Sahara has resulted in retraction of T. graeca distribution in Libya 
(Lambert, 1981). Not collected or persecuted in Jordan, where an encounter 
with a tortoise is believed to bring good luck (Jordan CITES MA, 1986). There 
is not thought to be any trade in tortoises in Israel, although they are 
occasionally kept as pets when they have been found in gardens or fields. 
This is not thought to pose a significant threat (Israel CITES MA, 1987). 
Illegal commercial collection of tortoises is thought to be a problem in 
Bulgaria, as well as locals and tourists who collect them for pets (T. 
Belokapova, in lltt., 20 April 1987). 

IWTERNATIONAL TRADE There is good evidence that large-scale collecting for 
the pet trade, for long centred in Morocco and Algeria, has resulted in severe 
depletion of tortoise populations. Although most animals have remained in 
Europe, significant numbers have been re-exported to Japan and the USA, mainly 
by F.R. Germany and the UK. No data are available on the effects of 
collecting in Turkey, which assumed greater importance after Morocco's 1978 
export ban, but in view of the very large numbers involved, local depletions 
are likely to have occurred there also. Although reporting is not 
comprehensive, available CITES figures for 1984 indicate an almost complete 
cessation of trade in Tescudo graeca into the EEC. although there were 
substantial imports to Austria. By 1985, the only significant trade was to 
the USA, the Austrian trade having ceased. The import ban imposed in the EEC 
in 1986 appears to have been highly effective in halting trade, one result of 
which was a very dramatic increase in the retail price of tortoises in the UK 
(Luxmoore and Joseph, 1986). There can be little doubt that populations of 
this species cannot sustain trade on the scale occurring in the 1970s and 
early 1980s. 

Table 1. Apparent minimum net imports of live Testudo graeca reported to 
CITES. Virtually all reported imports are commercial not private. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Argentina 


- 


Austria 


- 


Belgium 


- 


Brazil 


- 


Denmark 


- 


France 


100 


German D.R. 


- 


Germany, F.R. 


41985 


Italy 


- 


Japan 


43 


Netherlands 


- 


Spain 


- 


Sweden 


50 


Switzerland 


1658 


UAE 


- 


UK 


39946 


USA 


352 



7000 



48302 
8» 
12 



3530 

38625 
1449 



2985 



10800 



4 
11000 



2021 

22240 
275 



50 

500 

27935 

2265 



10 



299 



*inc. 4 captive bred 



TOTAL 



84134 



98926 



27523 



41550 



11014 



321 



19 



Testudo graeca 

Table 2. Reported countries of origin (or exporting country if no original 
source reported) and quantities of transactions in live T. graeca reported 
to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



a. Countries with wild populations. 



Greece 


- 


61 


2 


- 


Italy 


50 


- 


- 


- 


Morocco 


20 


- 


- 


- 


Spain 


45 


- 


- 


- 


Turkey 


55003 


89115 


24520 


35000 


Yugoslavia 


28990 


9742 


3000 


6550 



11000 



301 



Countries without wild populations. 



Hungary 
Swi tzerland 
United Kingdom 
USSR 
*captive bred 



8* 
4« 



3 

3* 



Country Unknown 18 



12 



13 



COKSERVATION MEASURES With effect from 1 January 1984 the import of 
Testudo graeca and 7". hermannl into the EEC region is prohibited. 

Listed on Appendix II of the Convention of European Wildlife and Natural 
Habitats, Bern 1979 (Honegger, 1981). This obliges contracting parties to 
take appropriate legislative and administrative measures to ensure strict 
protection of the species. 



Algeria T. graeca is listed as a protected species under Decret No. 
83.509, 20 August 1983 (Algeria CITES MA, 1987). 

Bulgaria Collection and killing of tortoises is prohibited by Order No. 128 
of 1981 (Beshkov, 1984). A further Order, No. 729, was issued in 1986 which 
made all forms of collection illegal. A poster on tortoise protection was 
distributed in 1986, and the police conducted road checks to look for illegal 
tortoise dealers. Further distribution of posters and television coverage of 
the problem were planned for 1987 (T. Belokapova, In lltt., 20 April 1987). 

Israel T. graeca is banned from all trade in Israel. It has also been 
designated a "protected asset of nature" and, as such, may not be harmed 
(Israel CITES MA, 1987). 

Italy T. graeca is not legally protected in Italy, although it occurs 
within some protected areas (Italy CITES MA, 1987). 

Morocco After ratifying CITES in 1978 Morocco banned the export of all wild 
animals, including tortoises (Anon., 1981). 



Romania Legally protected, and declared a national monument, 
several reserves (Honegger, 1981). 



Occurs in 



20 



Testudo graeca 

Spain Legally protected under Decreto 2573 of 5 October, 1973; occurs in 
the Goto de Donana reserve in Spain; listed as Vulnerable in the Spanish Red 
Data Book <Spain CITES MA, 1987). 

Tunisia T. graeca has been protected since 197A, and its export has been 
forbidden (Tunisia CITES MA, 1987). 

CAPTIVE BREEDING Large numbers of this species are kept as pets. Regular 
breeding in captivity is possible, given appropriate care and conditions 
(Kirsche, 1980). It has been suggested that captive-bred tortoises should 
replace wild-caught specimens in the live animal trade (Kirsche, 1980). 

REFERENCES 

Anderson, S.C. (1979). Synopsis of the turtles, crocodiles, and amphisbaenians 

of Iran. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 4th ser., 

41(22): 501-528. 
Andrada, J. (1980). Gala de campo de los Anflblos y Reptiles de la Peninsula 

Iberlca. Omega, Barcelona. 
Anon. (1981). The Tortoise Trade. A report on an investigation carried out 

by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, UK. 
Bannikov, A.G., Darevskii, I.S., Iszczenko, W.G., Rustainov, A.K. and 

Shcherbak, N.N. (1977). Opredelitelj zemnovodnye i presmykajuscichsja 

fauny SSSR, Moscow. 
Basgolu, M. and Baran, I. (1977). Tiirkiye Siiringenlen . Kisim 1. Kaplumbaga 

ve Kertenkeleler . (The reptiles of Turkey. Part 1. Turtles and 

lizards). Fen. Fak. Kltaplar Ser. Eye University. No. 76. Bornova. 

Izmir . 
Beshkov, V.A. (1984). On the distribution, relative abundance and protection 

of tortoises in Bulgaria. Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Ecology 14: 

14-33 (in Bulgarian, English summary). 
Bruno, S. and Maugeri , S. (1977). Retllll d'ltalla. Vol. I. 

Tartarughe-Saurl , Martello-Giunt i , Firenze. 
Demetropoulos , A. and Hadj ichristophorou , M. (1981). The Chelonians of 

Cyprus. Biological Society of Cyprus Bulletin 1: 13-17. 
Fuhn, I.E. and Vancea, S. (1961). Fauna Republlcll Populare Romlne. 

Reptllla (Testoase, Soplrle, SerplJ . Ed. Acad. Rep. Pop. Romine., Vol. 

XIV F.2. : 158-170. 
Gruber, U. (1982). In lltt. (teit of paper read at scientific meeting of 

the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature, Karlsruhe, 27 March 

1982). 
Honneger, R.E. (1981). Threatened Amphibians and Reptiles In Europe. 

Supplementary Vol., of Handbuch der Reptlllen und Amphlblen Buropas , 

Wiesbaden, Akademische Verlagsgesellschaf t . 
Iverson, J.B. (1986). A checklist with distribution maps of the turtles of 

the world. Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana. 
Khikvadze and Tuniev (1986). On the taxonomic status of modern land tortoises 

of the Western Transcaucasus . Bulletin of the Academy of Sciences of the 

Georgian SSR 124(3): 617-620. 
Kirsche, W. (1980). Conservation of Tortoises by breeding. Proceedings of 

the European Her petolog leal Symposium, Oxford C.U.L.P. p. 125 (Abstr.), 

also in ASRA Journal 1(3). 
Lambert, M.R.K. (1980). The Mediterranean Spur-Thighed Tortoise, Testudo 

graeca, in the wild and in trade. Proceedings of the European 

Her petolog leal Symposium, Oxford C .U .L. P. , pp. 17-23. 
Lambert, M.R.K. (1981). The conservation of Mediterranean (W-Palaearctic ) 

tortoises: the problem posed. (Abstract). First Ordinary General 

Meeting Societas Europaea Herpetologica. 13-16, September, Vienna; 

Abstracts . 



21 



Testudo graeca 

Lambert, M.R.K. (1983). Some factors influencing the Moroccan distribution of 

the western Mediterranean spur-thighed tortoise, Testudo graeca graeca 

L. , and those precluding its survival in NW Europe. Zoological Journal 

of the Llnnaean Society, London 79: 149-179. 
Lopez Jurado, L.F., Talavera Torralba, P. A., Ibanez Gonzalez, J.M., Maclvor, 

J. A., and Garcia Alcazar, A. (1979). Las tortugas terrestres Testudo 

graeca y Testudo hermannl en Espana. Naturalla Hlspanlca 17, ICONA, 

Madrid. 
Loveridge, A. and Williams, E.E. (1957). Revision of the African tortoises 

and turtles of the suborder Cryptodira. Bulletin of the Museum of 

Comparative Zoology 115(6): 163-557. 
Luxmoore, R. and Joseph, J. (1986). UK trade in tortoises. Traffic 

Bulletin 8(3) : 46-A8. 
Mahdi, N. and Georg, P.V. (1969). A systemafilc list of the vertebrates of 

Irag. Iraq Natural History Museum, University of Baghdad Publication No. 

26. 
Mendelssohn, H. (1983). Herpetological nature protection. Israel - Land and 

Nature, 9(1): 21-27. 
Pritchard, P.C.H. (1979). Encyclopedia of Turtles. T.F.H. Publications, 

Hong Kong and New Jersey, 895 pp. 
Schleich, H . -H . (1984). Studies on the herpetology of Kouf National Park and 

adjacent areas of Cyrenaika with a checklist of the amphibians and 

reptiles of Libya. Final Report, lUCN/WWF Project 9044 - Libya -Kouf N.P. 
Wermuth, H. and Mertens , R. (1977). Testudines, Crocodylia, Rhynchocephalia. 

Das Tlerrelch, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, 100: 1-174. 



22 



HERMANN'S TORTOISE Reconmiended list: 2 

[Possible problem] 
Testudo hermannl (Gmelin, 1789) 

Order TESTUDINES Family TESTUDINIDAE 

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS A small terrestrial tortoise, restricted to 
southern Europe. The range extends around the Mediterranean, often in coastal 
areas, from north-east Spain eastward to European Turkey; the species also 
occurs in parts of Romania and Bulgaria and is present on several islands. 
Inhabits a variety of rather dry habitats (scrub woodland, heath or maquls, 
for example), in areas with hot summers, often at coastal sites. Mainly 
herbivorous. Clutch comprises 1-12 eggs, often around three, there may be two 
clutches per season. Western populations from Spain to Italy (T. h. 
robertnertensl) are in general extremely localized and depleted; eastern 
populations (T. h. hermannl) are more widespread and sometimes with adequate 
numbers, but heavily exploited for the pet trade in many areas and declining 
in parts. Listed as Vulnerable in the lUCN Amphibia-Rept ilia Red Data Book, 
Part 1. 

Import into EEC countries has been prohibited since 1984, Numbers in reported 
trade fell significantly, from an annual mean of 16 787 in 1980-1983, to 7371 
in 1984, but then rose again to 13 349 in 1985. Most of the imports in 1984 
and 1985 were to Austria, Switzerland, Hungary and the USA (not EEC members). 
Turkey was formerly the major source, but recently Yugoslavia has emerged as 
the main supplier. In 1985, 4000 were reported as originating in the USSR, 
possibly indicating mis identification for T. horsfleldll . Listed on 

Appendix II of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and 
Natural Habitats. Nominally protected by legislation in much of the range, 
present in a few protected areas. 

There seems little doubt that populations were adversely affected by the level 
of exploitation existing prior to 1984. If imports to the EEC since the 
import ban have in fact fallen to the level reported to CITES, it is unlikely 
to pose a serious problem; but the growing imports to non-EEC countries, 
particularly Austria, is of concern. Imports from the USSR should be 
investigated . 

DISTRIBUTION Restricted to southern Europe. Present in Albania, Bulgaria, 
France, Greece, Italy, Romania, Spain, Turkey and Yugoslavia. Although 
reported to occur on Malta (see Iverson, 1986), any individuals of 
T. berinannl found may be escapes, it is occasionally imported by pet shops 
but does not live or breed in the wild (Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, 
in lltt. , 1985) . 

This species is usually (Wermuth and Mertens, 1977) treated as comprising two 
subspecies; T. h. robercmertensl from central Italy, Sardinia and Corsica 
westwards, and T. h. hermannl from southern Italy and the Balkans. However, 
some doubt has been raised about the proper assignment of animals from 
peninsular Italy (Bruno and Maugeri, 1977). Bour (1987) has proposed that 
what Wermuth and Mertens (1977) treated as T. h. robertmertensl should be 
called T. h. hermannl and that what they treated as T. h. hermannl should 
be assigned to T. h. boettgerl . 

Albania Few details available (see Iverson, 1986), probably widespread. 

Bulgaria Formerly widespread, although now absent from several parts of its 
former range (Beshkov, 1984). 



23 



Testudo hermAnnl 

France Localized, occuring in the Alberes hills along the French-Spanish 
border in the east Pyrenees, and the Maures and Esterel mountains in Var 
province (south-east France) (Cheylan, 1981; Devaux et aJ . , 1986). Also 
present (though probably introduced) on Corsica, mainly along the east coast 
(Honegger, 1981). 

Greece The most widespread tortoise in Greece where it appears to occur 
over much of the mainland including the Peloponnese (Arnold and Burton, 
1978). It may be absent from parts of the south-east, around Corinth, and 
becomes progressively rarer east of Thessalonilci (Stubbs et aJ . , 1981). 
Present on the Ionian Islands, including Corfu (Honegger, 1981). 

Italy Hermann's Tortoise is present in peninsular Italy, mainly on the 

Ligurian and Tyrrhenian coasts and also occurs on Sicily, Sardinia, and 

certain smaller islands including Elba, Lampedusa and Pantelleria (Bruno and 
Maugeri, 1977). 

Romania Recorded from about 60 localities in the counties Mechedinti, 
Caras-Severin and Gor j ; all near the Yugoslavian border in the extreme 
south-west (Fuhn, 1981; Fuhn and Vancea, 1961). 

Spain Present in small numbers in the south of Menorca and two populations 
in north-east and south-east Mallorca (Balearic Islands), also on the 
mainland, in a small area in the north of Gerona province (Lopez Jurado et 
al . , 1979; Cheylan, 1981). Also reported fi-om the area of Valencia (Andrada, 
1980), with scattered reports from elsewhere. There is a possibility that 
most T. hermannl colonies on the mainland are not indigenous (Lopez Jurado 
et aJ . , 1979) . 

Turkey Restricted to European Turkey (Basoglu and Baran, 1977; Eiselt and 
Spitzenberger, 1967; Pritchard, 1979). 

Yugoslavia The species ranges along the Adriatic coast from Dalmatia 
southwards, then south-east through parts of Macedonia (Meek and Inskeep, 
1982; Meek, 1985). 

POPULATION 



Albania No data. 



Bulgaria Formerly widespread (Beskov and Beron, 196A), but numbers of both 
Testudo in Bulgaria have declined sharply over the last decades; both are 
now absent from several parts of the country (Beskov, 1984). 

France During Neolithic times T. h. robertmertensl ranged across the 
entire Mediterranean region of mainland France, and also much further to the 
north (Cheylan, 1978). The species has since undergone a severe regression, 
due apparently to climatic and human influences, and is now restricted to 
hills in the province of Var in the extreme south-east (the Massifs des Maures 
and Esterel). and the Alb6res in the east Pyrenees. The tortoise is now 
regarded as severely threatened in France (Cheylan. 1978. 1981). Extirpated 
in the early 19th century in lies d'Hyeres owing to over-exploitation (Rische. 
1979) Although the general area of distribution may not have diminished 
greatly for several decades, the density of individuals is progressively 
decreasing (Dumont. 1974). Small populations remain in parts of the Massif 
des Maures, but at densities as low as 3-4 per ha. where they are regarded as 
under severe threat (Devaux et aJ . . 1986). Populations may be locally 
adequate in Corsica (J. -P. Rische, pers. comm. . 1980). However, available 
evidence indicates that the Massif des Maures population is slowly declining 
due to egg predation and changes in land use (Stubbs and Swingland. 1985). 

24 



Testudo hermanni 

Greece Populations are widespread and still generally in satisfactory 
condition, although an overall decline has been observed (Gruber, 1982). In 
the north-east, the species becomes progressively rarer east of Thessaloniki 
(Stubbs et al , 1981). At a major 75-ha study site on coastal heath at Alyki 
(Macedonia), average T. hermanni density was 55 per ha, with a total 
population of around 5,000. In optimum dry sandy heath habitat within this 
site, a maximum density of over 150 tortoises per hectare was observed (Stubbs 
et aJ . , 1981). After a severe fire swept the area in 1980 the population 
was estimated to have fallen to 25 per ha in 1982 (Stubbs et al . , 1985). 

Italy In general, rare and localized (Bruno and Maugeri, 1977); has 
disappeared from much of the coast, but probably retains natural densities in 
some National Parks (eg. Maremma) or on private land (Bruno, 1971, 1973). 

Romania Reportedly in marked decline (Honegger, 1981). 

Spain Both Testudo species in mainland Spain are reported to exist in low 
density and to have disappeared from many areas (Andrada, 1980). In the 
Balearics, populations are extremely localized in the south of Menorca and 
local in Mallorca (Lopez Jurado et al . , 1979). Fire is said to be an 
important factor causing a population decline in Gerona (Spain CITES MA, 1987). 

Turkey Apparently not common within its restricted range, but no details 
available . 

Yugoslavia Declining locally due to collecting for the pet trade (Honegger, 
1981). Healthy populations are known in parts of Dalmatia and Montenegro 
(Meek and Inskeep, 1982; Windolf, 1980). Around 125 individuals were noted in 
a 2 km^ area in Montenegro (Meek and Inskeep, 1982). A further study, in 
1983, estimated a mean density of 39.2 per ha (Meek, 1985). 

HABITAT AND ECOLOCTf A small terrestrial tortoise, to around 20 cm length, 
individuals in western populations may be a little smaller. Inhabits a variety 
of often rather dry habitats, in areas with hot summers. Generally in 
lowlands and low hills, and in open deciduous woodland, wood edges, scrub 
fields and hillsides, maquls and garrlgue vegetation, etc. (Arnold and 
Burton, 1978; Meek, 1985; Windolf, 1980; Bruno and Maugeri, 1977). At one 
study site in northern Greece, maximal tortoise density was found in areas of 
dry sandy heath with a ground cover of lichens and herbs, Artemesla clumps, 
Hawthorn and Ruscus aculeatus (Stubbs et al . , 1981). 

Mainly herbivorous, although invertebrates, carrion and faeces may be eaten on 
occasion. At one scrubland site in southern Yugoslavia (Meek and Inskeep, 
1982) leguminous plants of the subfamily Papilionoidea provided the bulk of 
the diet. 

Sexual maturity may be attained (in females) at around seven years. There is 
typically a period of winter hibernation, courtship may occur sporadically 
throughout the summer. Eggs are generally laid in May-June, with the 
hatchlings emerging in August-September. A flask-shaped nest 7-8 cm deep is 
excavated by the hind feet. The clutch comprises from one to 12 eggs, usually 
three. Eggs are hard-shelled, slightly elongate. There may be two clutches 
laid per season (Pritchard, 1979; Street, 1979). 

THREATS TO SURVIVAL Threatened mainly by large-scale commercial collecting 
and habitat destruction. Western populations assigned to T. h. 
roberunertensl, particularly those in mainland France, are at risk due to the 
extremely localized distribution. About 103 450 ha of maquis and pine woods 
have been destroyed by fire in Var (France) in the last ten years, and 20^ of 
the French hermanni population may have been destroyed in the fire of July 

25 



Testudo hermaiml 

1979 (Dumont, 197A). In northern Greece, Stubbs et al . (1985) estimated 
that a heath fire reduced the population by about t*0\, but they found that the 
growth rate of juveniles rose sharply subsequently, and they concluded that 
tortoise populations were relatively resiliant to this type of catastrophe. 
In France, tortoises are occasionally collected for commercial purposes, but 
the collection of individual animals as pets is also a serious problem owing 
to the low population numbers (Devaux et ai . , 1986). Urbanization is a 
further threat (Cheylan, 1981). Habitat alteration is cited as the primary 
cause of decline in Bulgaria, including intensification of agriculture, 
expansion of pasture-land, and coniferous afforestation, but with 
industrialisation, urbanisation and collecting for food as secondary causes. 
Collecting now occurs mainly around Plovdiv and vicinity, but was concentrated 
in the east where T. hermannl used to be abundant, and shifted to the west 
in the 1970s (Beshkov, 1984). On the Tyrrhenian coast of Italy, 
transformation of the coastal environment by building speculation, collecting 
for the pet trade, and use as food by local inhabitants, are cited as major 
threats (Chelazzi, in lltt., 1980). Populations in Yugoslavia have been 
subjected to extremely heavy collection pressure; as many as 40 000 animals 
were exported for the pet trade in the early 1970s (Honegger, 1981). The 
tortoises are eaten by man in some parts of the range, eg. Bulgaria (Sura, 
1981) and are widely offered as tourist souvenirs, in Yugoslavia, for example. 



Table 1. Apparent minimum net imports of live Testudo hermannl reported to 
CITES (eight preserved specimens were also reported but do not appear below). 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Australia 












2 


Austria 


- 


- 


- 


5350 


3355 


85 


Bermuda 


- 


- 


- 


8 


_ 


- 


Canada 


- 


- 


- 


7 


- 


6 


Chile 


- 


- 


- 


_ 


1 


- 


Denmark. 


- 


- 


_ 


- 


8 


- 


France 


650 


499 


- 


400 


300 


- 


German D.R. 


1400 


- 


6 


_ 


1 


_ 


Germany, F.R. 


14217 


2 


- 


2 


7 


22« 


Hungary 


- 


- 


- 


_ 


400 


_ 


Italy 


- 


- 


- 


15 


_ 


_ 


Japan 


20 


800 


- 


210 


5 


43 


Korea (Rep.) 


- 


- 


2* 


- 


- 


- 


New Zealand 


- 


3 


_ 


_ 


_ 


_ 


Saudi Arabia 


- 


_ 


_ 


_ 


_ 


_ 


Spain 


- 


- 


- 


2 


2 


1 


Switzerland 


3855 


4788 


5277 


4751 


2549 


2019 


Tanzania 


- 


_ 


_ 


_ 


_ 


2 


UAE 


- 


- 


- 


_ 


^ 


30 


UK 


9993 


10000 


3 


2503 


_ 


_ 


USA 


347 


71 


841 


1126 


734 


1354 


Country Unknown 


1 


4 


_ 


_ 


_ 


_ 


* captive bred 















Total 



30478 



16171 



6129 



14372 



7371 



13349 



26 



TGStudo hermannl 

IWTERWATIONAL TRADE Large numbers of live T. hermannl have been involved 
in the pet trade in recent decades. Austria, F.R. Germany, Switzerland and 
the UK have all been major importers in the 1980s, the last two countries most 
consistently. A majority of these specimens have remained in Europe but some 
have been re-exported to the USA. Turkey was formerly the major source, but 
recently Yugoslavia has emerged as the main supplier. In 1985, 6000 were 
reported as originating in the USSR, possibly indicating misident if ication for 
T. horsfleldll . Since the ban on imports into the EEC in 1986, numbers in 
reported trade have fallen significantly, from an annual mean of 16 787 in 
1980-1983 to 7371 in 1984, but then rose again to 13 369 in 1985. Most of the 
imports in 1986 and 1985 were to Austria, Switzerland, Hungary and the USA 
(not EEC members). 

Table 2. Reported countries of origin (or exporting country if no original 
source reported) and quantities of transactions in live T. hermannl reported 
to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1986 



1985 



a. Countries having wild populations of T. hermannl 



Bulgaria 


- 


- 


1 


- 


Greece 


13 


1 


3« 


3 


Italy 


- 


2 


- 


- 


Turkey 


26000 


10350 


255 


2500 


Yugoslavia 


6131 


5720 


5786 


11866 



7358 



286 

9056 



b. Countries without wild populations of T. hermannl 



Austria 


29 


Belgium 


- 


Czechoslovakia 


2 


German D.R. 


- 


Germany, F.R. 


303 


Iceland 


- 


Switzerland 


- 


UK 


- 


USSR 


- 


Country Unknown 


- 


*captive bred 





68 



83 



6* 

2 

5 

10* 
2 
4 



62* 
2 
6000 
3 



CONSERVATION MEASURES Listed on Appendix II of the 1979 Convention on the 
Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (the Berne Convention) 
(Anon., 1979). This obliges contracting parties to take appropriate 
legislative and administrative measures to ensure strict protection of the 
species. Import of Mediterranean Testudo species into the EEC has been 
prohibited since 1 January 1986. 

Bulgaria Collection and killing of tortoises is prohibited by Order No. 128 
of 1981 (Beshkov, 1986). A further Order, No. 729, was issued in 1986 which 
made all forms of collection illegal. A poster on tortoise protection was 
distributed in 1986, and the police conducted road checks to look for illegal 
tortoise dealers. Further distribution of posters and television coverage of 
the problem were planned for 1987 (T. Belokapova, In lltt., 20 April 1987). 

France Protected by law (No. 76269, 10 July 1976, and Decret No. 77.1295, 



27 



Testudo hermannl 

25 November 1977). A three-year research progranune has recently been 
completed in the Massif des Maures (Var) and a cooperative tortoise 
conservation project was initiated. This involves habit restoration, 
protection of nest sites, and captive propagation (Devaux et al . , 1986). 

Italy T. hermannl is not legally protected in Italy, although it occurs 
within some protected areas (Italy CITES HA, 1987), including the Parco 
Naturale Regionale della Maremma , in coastal Tuscany (E. Balleto, pers . comm. , 
1981) . 

Romania Legally protected, and declared a national monument. Occurs in 
several reserves (Honegger, 1981). 

Spain Legally protected under Decreto 2573 of 5 October, 1973; listed as 
Vulnerable in the Spanish Red Data Book (Spain CITES MA, 1987). A major 
population of T. hermannl occurs on private land in Mallorca and is the main 
subject of the Son Cifre Conservation Project (Kramer, 1981). 



CAPTIVE BREEDING Regular breeding in captivity is possible, given 
appropriate care and conditions (Kirsche, 1980). It has been suggested that 
captive-bred tortoises should replace wild-caught specimens in the live animal 
trade (Kirsche, 1980). As part of a conservation programme in southern 
France, eggs have been collected from the wild and artificially incubated to 
reduce predation (Devaux et al . , 1986). 

REFERKWCES 

Andrada, J. (1980). Gula de campo de los Anflblos y Reptiles de la Peninsula 

Iberlca. Omega, Barcelona. 
Anon. (1979). Explanatory report concerning the Convention on the 

Conservation of European midlife and Natural Habitats. Council of 

Europe, Strasbourg. 
Arnold, E.N., and Burton, J. A. (1978). .fl Field Guide to the Reptiles and 

Amphibians of Britain and Europe. London: Collins. 
Basgolu, M. and Baran , I. (1977). Tiirkiye Siiringenlen. Kisim 1. Kaplumbaga 

ve Kertenkeleler. (The reptiles of Turkey. Part 1. Turtles and 

lizards). Fen. Fak . Kltaplar Ser . Eye University. No. 76. Bornova, 

Izmir . 
Beshkov, V.A. (198^). On the distribution, relative abundance and protection 

of tortoises in Bulgaria. Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Ecology lA: 

14-33 (in Bulgarian, English summary). 
Beskov, v., and Beron, P. (1964). Catalogue et Blbllographle des Amphlblens 

et des Retlles en Bugarle. Ed. Acad. Bulg. Sci., Sofia, pp. 1-39. 
Bour, R. (1987). L'identite des tortues terrestres europ^ennes. Revue 

Francalse d' Aquarlologle 13(4): 111-122. 
Bruno, S. (1971). Red Book: Testudo hermannl Gmelin. Notlz. Unlone 

Erpetol . Ital. 1(2): 30. 
Bruno, S. (1973). Problemi di conservazione nel campo dell' erpetologia. 

Attl 3rd Simp, naz . Conserv . Nat. Barl 2: 117-226. 
Bruno, S. and Maugeri, S. (1977). Retllll d'ltalla. Vol. I. 

Tartarughe-Saurl, Martello-Giunti , Firenze. 
Cheylan, M. (1978). Species account for Testudo hermannl, p. 76. In: Anon.. 

(Societe Herpetologique de France). Atlas prellmlnalre des Reptiles et 

Amphlblens de France. Montpellier. 
Cheylan, M. (1981). Actual status and future of Hermann's Tortoise In 

western Europe. Paper presented at the 2nd European Chelonian Symposium. 

3 October, Oxford. 
Devaux, B., Pouvreau, J. -P. and Stubbs, D. (1986). Prograime de sauvegarde 

des tortues d' Hermann dans le Massif des Maures (France). SOPTOM. Les 

Mayores, France. 

28 



Testudo hermannl 

Dumont, M. (1974). Les cheloniens de France. Leur avenir, leur protection. 
Le couTTler de la nature 33: 226-227. Also published (1972) in Natur . 
Or lean 3(5) : 10-12. 
Eiselt, J., and Spitzenberger , F. (1967). Ergebnisse zoologischer 
SammelreisGn in der Turlcei: Testudines. Annalen Naturhlstorlschen 
Museums In Wlen 70: 357-378. 
Fuhn, I.E. (1981). Rare and endangered amphibians and reptiles In Romania, 
proposal for conservation (text of paper read at Societas Europaea 
Herpetologica meeting, 3-16 September, Vienna). 
Fuhn, I.E. and Vancea, S. (1961). Fauna Republlcll Populare Romlne . 
Reptllla (Testoase, Soplrle, Serpl) . Ed. Acad. Rep. Pop. Romine., Vol. 
XIV F.2. : 158-170. 
Gruber, U. (1982). Herpetofauna Grlechenlands (text of lecture given at 
meeting of the Scientific Commission of the Hellenic Society for the 
Protection of Nature, 27 March, Karlsruhe). 
Honneger, R.E. (1981). Threatened Amphibians and Reptiles In Europe. 
Supplementary Vol., of Handbuch der Reptlllen und Amphlblen Europas , 
Wiesbaden, Akademische Verlagsgesellschaf t . 
Iverson, J.B. (1986). A checklist with distribution maps of the turtles of 

the world. Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana. 
Kirsche, W. (1980). Conservation of Tortoises by breeding. Proceedings of 
the European Herpetologlcal Symposium. Oxford C.W.L.P. p. 125 (Abstr.), 
also in ASRA Journal 1(3). 
Kramer, T. (1981). Statement at first meeting of lUCN/SSC Tortoise Specialist 

Group, 1-2 October, Oxford. 
Lopez Jurado, L.F., Talavera Torralba, P. A., Ibanez Gonzalez, J.M., Maclvor, 
J. A., and Garcia Alcazar, A. (1979). Las tortugas terrestres Testudo 
graeca y Testudo hermann.i en Espana. Naturalla Hlspanlca 17, ICONA, 
Madrid. 
Meek, R. (1985). Aspects of the ecology of Testudo hermannl in southern 

Yugoslavia. British Journal of Herpetology 6: A37-465. 
Meek, R., and Inskeep, R. (1982). Aspects of the field biology of 

population of Hermann's Tortoise (Testudo hermannl) in southern 
Yugoslavia. British Journal of Herpetology 6: 159-166. 
Pritchard, P.C.H. (1979). Encyclopedia of Turtles. T.F.H. Publications, 

Hong Kong and New Jersey, 895 pp. 
Risch, J. -P. (1979). Les tortues terrestres palearctiques (Testudo spp.) en 
France: presence a I'etat sauvage, maintien et reproduction en captivity, 
protection (Reptilia, Testudines, Testudinidae) . Bulletin Socletes 
Zoologlque de France 103(6): 526-527. 
Street, D. (1979). The Reptiles of Northern and Central Europe. London, 

Batsf ord. 
Stubbs, D., Hailey, A., Tyler. W. , and Pulford, L. (1981). University of 
London Natural History Society, Expedition to Greece 1980. Report, pp. 
1-136. 
Stubbs, D., and Swingland, I.S. (1985). The ecology of a Mediterranean 
tortoise (Testudo hermannl): a declining population. Canadian Journal 
of Zoology 63: 169-180. 
Stubbs, D., and Swingland, I.R., Hailey, A. and Pulford, E. (1985). The 
ecology of the Mediterranean tortoise (Testudo hermannl) in Northern 
Greece (The effects of a catastrophe on population structure and density. 
Biological Conservation 31: 125-152. 
Sura, P. (1981). Notes on the reptiles of Bulgaria. British Herpetologlcal 

Society Bulletin 3: 25-28. 
Wermuth, H. and Mertens, R. (1977). Testudines, Crocodylia, Rhynchocephalia. 

Das Tlerrelch, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, 100: 1-176. 
Windolf, R. (1980). Zur biologie, okologie und zum artenschutz der 
Griechischen Landschildkrote (Testudo hermannl h.) in Jugoslavien. 
Okol . (Z. f. Okologie, Natur- und Umieltschutz) 2(6): 16-20. 

29 



a 



AFGHAN or HORSFIELD's TORTOISE Recommended list: 2 

[Possible problem] 
Testudo horsfleldll Gray, 1844 

Order TESTUDINES Family TESTUDINIDAE 



SUMHARY AND COWCLUSIOWS A small Central and South-west Asian tortoise, 
ranging from Kazakhstan (USSR) and the western fringe of the Dzungarian Basin 
(China) south through Afghanistan and east Iran to the Baluchistan region of 
Pakistan. Occurs in a variety of semi-arid habitats, including semi-desert 
and steppelands. Reproductive potential is low; rather late maturing, with 
first breeding at 11-14 years, and with two clutches per year, of only 5-6 
eggs in total. 

The species, is affected by habitat loss due to agricultural expansion in parts 
of the range. Around 150 000 specimens annually have been collected in 
Kazakhstan alone in recent years, about half of which are sold within the 
USSR. Between 24 000 and 100 000 annually have been recorded in international 
trade from 1980 to 1985. 

Despite substantial populations remaining in the USSR, this level of harvest 
may well be non-sustainable; management and further field research have been 
recommended . 

DISTRIBUTIOW A Central and Southwest Asian species, extending from the 
eastern shores of the Caspian Sea eastward through the Turkestan region just 
into the Dzungarian Basin of China, and south-east through eastern Iran and 
much of Afghanistan to north-west Pakistan. 

Following Khozatsky and Mlynarski (1966), some authors assign this species to 
the genus Agrlonemys rather than Testudo; it differs most noticeably from 
members of the latter genus in possessing four rather than five digits on the 
forelimbs, also in other features. 

Afghanistan Apparently occurs widely, with the exception of the Afghan 
portion of the Seistan basin and the complex knot of mountain ranges in the 
centre and north-east (Anderson, 1979, Fig. 12). 

China To the east of Lake Balkhash (USSR) the species extends into the 

Dzungarian Basin in the Xinjiang Uygur (Sinkiang Uigur) Autonomous Region of 

China, where it occurs in a 120 sq . km hill area north of Huocheng County 
(Anon., 1984). 

Iran The range extends south from Turkestan into eastern parts of the 
Iranian plateau, where the species is recorded from the provinces of 
Mazanderan (the north-east only) and Khorasan, but not south of the Seistan 
basin (Anderson, 1979). 

Pakistan Despite its apparent absence from Iranian Baluchistan (Zarudny, 
cited in Anderson, 1979), the Afghan Tortoise is generally distributed in the 
north and west of the Baluchistan region of Pakistan and into Wazirstan in the 
tribal frontier areas (Minton, 1966). 

USSR Widely distributed through the Turkestan region, in Turkmenistan, 
Uzbekistan and southern and central parts of Kazakhstan. Apparently largely 
absent from the Pamir and Tien Shan highlands of Tadzhikistan and Kirgizia, in 
the southwest of this region (Bannikov et al . , 1977). 



30 



Testudo horsfleldli 

POPULATION Little information is available on populations of 
T. horsfleldli in Afghanistan, China, Iran and Pakistan, but useful data are 
available from the Russian portion of the range. 

Afghanistan Noted as numerous on the plains near Gulran in the extreme 
north-west of the country in 1886 (Aitchinson, 1889). Reportedly quite 
abundant in the Dasht-i-Leili between Maimana and Shibarghan in northern 
Afghanistan (Toynbee, 1961); no recent information available for most of the 
country . 

China One source (Anon., 1986) terms the species "rare" and states that the 
population has been "decimated". 

Iran Reports from the turn of the century (Zarudny, cited in Anderson, 
1979) suggest that the species was common at (at least) one locality in 
eastern Khorasan, but rare in the southern part of its range; no recent 
information available. 

Pakistan Cited as "rare" (Ghalib et aJ . , 1980), but general information 

presented by Minton (1966) suggests the species is not uncommon locally; for 

example, seven individuals were seen at one time in a meadow near a small 
watercourse . 

USSR Quite extensive surveys have been carried out in many parts of 
Kazakhstan S.S.R. (Alma-Ata, Taldy-Kurgan , Dzhambul , Chimkent oblasts) 
(Brushko and Kubykin, 1982), and the southern parts (Maryj region) of Turkmen 
S.S.R. (Frolov et al . , 1985). Tortoise population density varied 
considerably over the 2130 ha surveyed in Kazakhstan, between 0.5 and 
(exceptionally) 26 specimens per hectare, but about seven per hectare was 
rated as "comparatively high" and most sites appear to have yielded between 
two and three per hectare (Brushko and Kubykin, 1982). A specific instance of 
regional decline is provided by the Kerbulak massif in Kazakhstan where at 
present between 11 and 15 individuals may be found per hectare, yet the same 
sites reportedly held about 40 per hectare in the 1950s (Brushko and Kubykin, 
1982). The higher of the densities found in Kazakhstan are reportedly rare in 
other parts of the species' range in USSR (see Russian language sources cited 
in Brushko and Kubykin, 1982). This seems to be confirmed by recent data from 
southern Turkmenia, where the highest local mean density in the Maryj region 
was about 6.5 specimens per hectare (in argillaceous and sandy desert 
foothills), and the lowest 0.66 per hectare (in the valley of the Murghab 
river system) (Frolov et al . , 1985). Total numbers in the 65% of the 
86 000 sq. km area Maryj region that was surveyed, were estimated at 26.8 
million. The species is not included in the USSR national Red Data Book. 

HABITAT AND ECOLOCTif A rather small tortoise, males attain a maximum length 
of about 16.5 cm (1100 g), and females about 19.5 cm (1750 g) (Brushko and 
Kubykin, 1982). Various habitat types are occupied, including sand or stone 
deserts and mountain slopes, but tortoise density varies appreciably between 
them. In Kazakhstan the largest populations occur in desert areas with 
wormwood Artemisia spp. and a variety of ephemerals, but in general good 
populations may be found in areas of broken relief, steppe areas with good 
grass cover, along seasonal river beds and ravines with abundant shelter. 
Numbers are lowest in saline zones, and in sandy or stony deserts (Brushko and 
Kubykin, 1982). In Pakistan, Afghan Tortoises frequent rocky hill country, 
especially between 1500 and 2100 m (5000-7000 ft), and can be seen most 
readily at grassy sites near springs or streams. They do range into 
moderately arid rocky desert but appear to avoid areas with sand or clay 
substrates (Minton, 1966). 



31 



Testudo horsfleldll 

In USSR the species is only active for 2.5-3 months, from the end of March 
until mid-June; the rest of the year is spent in shelter (although there may 
be sporadic activity in summer and autumn). Mature males both enter 
aestivation earlier and become active earlier than females and juveniles. 
Activity over a 26 hr period is similarly restricted, typically to between 
10 a.m. -12 noon and 4-6 p.m., but this simple two-peak pattern is obscured in 
bad weather when activity is more widely distributed, and also varies 
according to the nutritional state of the individual. Shelters occupied are 
simple scrapes in the ground, to carapace depth, or burrows under rocks - 
apparently deeper during the winter aestivation period (Brushko and Kubykin, 
1982; Minton, 1966). 

The diet is largely vegetarian; adults feed on leaves, fruit and flowers 
(rarely on grass) while young appear especially attracted to fruit and flowers 
red in colour (Minton, 1966). Considerable fat reserves are accumulated 
during spring and feeding (Brushko and Kubykin, 1982). 

Sexual maturity is attained relatively late: at 11-12 years of age, carapace 
length 11.2-11.7 cm, weight 380-480 g, in males, and 13-14 years, 13.4-14 cm, 
560-620 g, in females (Brushko and Kubykin, 1982). Copulation (males always 
smaller and younger than females) occurs in March-April, egg-laying typically 
at the end of April and the beginning of June (although varying in females of 
different ages) (Brushko and Kubykin, 1982). The reproductive rate is low: in 
south-east Kazakhstan two clutches are laid per year, five or sij eggs in 
total. There appears to be appreciable, although unquantif ied , mortality of 
eggs and young due to predation and climatic factors. For example, young 
tortoises form a considerable portion of the diet of rooks Corvus frugllegus 
in Kazakhstan (Brushko and Kubykin, 1982). 

Individual movements do not appear to be extensive; for example, 32% of 132 
specimens marked in 1975 were recaptured in 1976-1978 between 40 and 1220 m 
from the original site (Brushko and Kubykin, 1982). 

THREATS TO SURVIVAL Threatened by exploitation for the live animal trade, 
for food, and in the USSR portion of the range at least, by habitat changes 
associated with agricultural development. 

In China, hunting for food is cited as the major threat (Anon., 1984). 
Similarly, in parts of the USSR, tortoise soup is much appreciated and the 
liver and eggs are highly regarded. Tortoises are exported for food use and 
were even used as food for fur-bearers during the 1950s (Brushko and Kubykin, 
1982). 

Large numbers of tortoises enter the live animal trade. The number collected 
for this purpose in Kazakhstan has increased steeply: 43 000 in 1967, 110 000 
in 1973, 126 000 in 1975 and about 150 000 annually in recent years (Brushko 
and Kubykin, 1982). Brushko and Kubykin (in a paper prepared in 1981) stated 
that large-scale exploitation for the world market has been permitted "during 
the last five years", ie. since about 1976. However, almost half of the 
animals collected are still sold within the USSR Collecting in Kazakhstan 
tends to take place soon after the start of aestivation, so a greater 
proportion of males than females are caught (they cease activity before 
females); they are also preferred by collectors because of their smaller 
size. However, it seems that collecting can lead to complete removal of 
tortoises from large areas; because of the restricted nature of tortoise 
movement the re-colonisation of such areas may take a long time or may not 
take place at all (Brushko and Kubykin, 1982). 

Decline in the USSR is also attributed to the extension of mechanised 
agriculture into hitherto untouched terrain, leading to direct injury during 
ploughing and other operations, and to the loss of suitable habitat. In 

32 



Testudo hozsfleldll 

much-modif ied areas, tortoises are confined to field edges and to remnants of 
suitable habitat. Significant juvenile mortality is caused by road traffic 
and fire, and (juveniles) by trampling by livestock. Tortoises are said to 
avoid areas with heavy pasturage of cattle and sheep (Brushko and Kubylcin, 
1982); on the other hand, in Pakistan tortoises are said to be oblivious to 
the presence of goats (Minton, 1966). 

Table 1. Minimum net imports of T. borsfleldll reported to CITES 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Austria 

Argentina 

Belgium 5000 

Bermuda 

Canada 

Denmark 1000 

German D.R. 

Germany, F.R. A11A6 

Hungary 

Italy 

Japan - 

Kuwait 

Luxembourg - 

Netherlands 

Saudi Arabia 

Spain 

Sweden 

Switzerland 850 

UK 

USA 4 

Country unknown 



- 


70 


- 


- 


- 


_ 


_ 


_ 


4 


6 


- 


7000 


10000 


- 


- 


_ 


_ 


6 


- 


- 


« 


_ 


4 


- 


- 


3250 


5910 


- 


- 


- 


_ 


15000 


15000 


- 


20000 


4599 


62940 


29835 


4 


3 


_ 


_ 


_ 


- 


4000 


_ 


_ 


- 


40314 


- 


- 


12 


50 


- 


- 


_ 


200 


30 


- 


- 


_ 


50 


100 


- 


- 


_ 


_ 


- 


1 


- 


_ 


30 


270 


- 


- 


5060 


5300 


400 


- 


2 


_ 


- 


- 


2 


- 


^ 


120 


185 


- 


- 


1 


- 


6 


10 


- 


750 


873 


320 


- 


- 


65000 


65000 


- 


- 


- 



TOTAL 



48000 



78660 



97512 



56206 



40335 



24011 



Table 2. Reported countries of origin and quantities of transactions reported 
to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



a. Countries having wild populations of T. hoisfleldll 



Afghanistan _ _ - 6 
USSR 48000 78660 97500 56206 



14 



24008 



b. Countries without wild populations of T. borsfleldll 



German D.R. 
Germany, F.R. 
Turkey 
Country unknown 



12 
5 



60 



4« 

40314 
3 



*captive bred 



33 



Testudo horsfleldll 

INTERNATIOKAL TRADE See preceding section for an outline of collecting and 
trade in the USSR; virtually all horsfleldli in trade reportedly originate 
from this country. Data from this major part of the species's range suggests 
that populations can withstand at least a moderate level of harvest, but, in 
conjunction with evidence for habitat modification and the large domestic 
trade in the USSR, it may be suspected that levels of international trade 
prevailing in the early 1980s are excessive. See Conservation Measures 
section, below, for proposals to mitigate the effects of exploitation. 

The 198^ transaction appearing in the above tables, involving 40 314 tortoises 
supposedly shipped from Turkey to Italy is anomalous; these animals may in 
fact have been of one or both the Testudo species occurring in Turkey 
(.horsfleldll does not), or may be horsfleldll in transit from USSR, which 
otherwise had an unusually small export figure for these years. 

CONSERVATION MEASURES 

China Nominally protected by legislation in China (hunting prohibited) 
(Anon., 1984). 

Pakistan Occurs in Hazarganj i-Chiltan National Park near Quetta (Shafigue, 
1984) . 

USSR Present in the Badkhyz and Repetek protected areas in southern 
Turkmenistan, USSR The following measures (paraphrased) have been proposed as 
a basis for rational utilisation of T. horsfleldll in Kazakhstan (Brushko 
and Kubykin, 1982) . 

1. Continue and extend surveys of tortoise population, status and ecology. 

2. Ban the sale of tortoises as household pets, thus halving the total 
harvest (N.B. from the context, it seems that this should be interpreted 
as meaning a ban in the USSR, not a ban on international trade for the pet 
market); limit the collection of males and immatures; prohibit total 
harvest collecting thus leaving a portion of all populations undisturbed. 

3. Prohibit collecting before May in order to allow breeding and weight 
recovery . 

4. Prohibit continued collecting at single sites, but collect in rotation, 
with intervals of several years. 

CAPTIVE BREEDING A recent inventory (Slavens, 1985) lists 133 individuals 
in 26 collections in 1984. Successful breeding in captivity seems to be rare, 
but is recorded at Tel Aviv in 1980 (Olney, 1983). 

REFERENCES 

Aitchinson, J.E.T. (1889). The zoology of the Afghan Delimitation Commission. 

Transactions of the Linnaean Society, London, Series 2, Vol V, Zoology 

Part III, pp. 53-142. 
Anderson, S.C. (1979). Synopsis of the turtles, crocodiles, and amphisbaenians 

of Iran. Proceedings California Academy Science 4th Series 41: 501-528. 
Anon. (1984). The four-toed tortoise of Xinjiang. China Pictorial, No. 3. 
Bannikov, A.G., Darevskii, I.S., and Rustamov, A.K. (1977). Zemnovodnye 1 

Presmykayshchle SSR, Izdatel'stvo "Mysl", Moscow (2nd edition) . 
Brushko, Z.K., and Kubykin, R.A. (1982). Horsfield's Tortoise (Agrlonemys 

horsfleldl Gray, 1844) and the way of its rational utilization in 

Kazakhstan. Vertebrata Hungarlca 21: 55-61. 
Frolov, V.E., Makejev, v., and Bozhanskii, A. (1985). Distribution of the 

Testudo horsfleldl in the south of the Turkmen SSR. Paper presented at 

Third Ordinary General Meeting of Societas Europaea Herpetologica, Prague, 

August 1985. Abstract published in programme booklet, full text in press. 



34 



Testudo horsfieldil 

Ghalib, S.A., Rahman, H., Iffat, F., and Hasnain, S.A. (1980?). A checklist 

of the reptiles of Pakistan. Records of the Zoological Survey of 

Pakistan 8: 37-59. 
Khozatsky, L.I., and Mlynarski , M. (1966). Agrlonemys - nouveau genre de 

tortues terrestres (Testudinidae) . Bulletin of the Academy of Political 

Science. Series Science Biology 2: 123-125. 
Minton, S.A. (1966). A contribution to the herpetology of West Pakistan. 

Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 134(2): 27-184. 
Olney, P.J.S. (Ed) (1983). Reptiles bred in captivity and multiple generation 

births, 1981. In, International Zoo Yearbook. 22. 
Shafique, M. (1984). Hazargan j i-Chiltan National Park. WWF-Paklstan 3(4): 

8-11. 
Slavens, F.L. (1985). Inventory of live reptiles and amphibians In 

captivity . current January 1. 198S. F.L. Slavens, Seattle, Washington. 
Toynbee, A.J. (1961). Between Oxus and Jumna. Oxford University Press, 

London . 



35 



SOUTH AMERICAN RIVER TURTLE 
Podocnemls expansa (SchweigBer 1812) 
Order TESTUDINES 



Recommended list: 1 
[Problem] 



Family PELOMEDUSIDAE 



SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS One of the largest species of freshwater turtle, 
formerly very abundant in the Amazon and Orinoco drainages of Brazil, Bolivia, 
Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, and possibly Ecuador and the Essequibo in Guyana. 
Now extremely depleted throughout the range and locally extinct. Inhabits 
lakes and major rivers, moving into flooded forest to feed on vegetation and 
fruits. Nests in large aggregations on sand banks exposed in the dry season. 
The primary cause of its decline is over-exploitation for meat and eggs. 
Although protected in all countries within its confirmed range, it is still 
hunted illegally and sold at exorbitant prices ($150 in Manaus). 

CITES reports reveal few international transactions, with the exception of one 
shipment of 1292 skins in 1981. This may well represent misidentif ication of 
sea turtle skins. International trade is probably of little significance 
compared with the levels of domestic exploitation. Some cross-border smuggling 
of turtles for meat occurs around the Amazon basin. 

There is little evidence of international trade in this species. The severely 
depleted state of all remaining wild populations means that any commercial 
trade is potentially damaging. Therefore Appendix I listing may well be 
appropriate to help control the current low level of illegal trade and to 
ensure that no new trade routes emerge. 

DISTRIBUTION Widespread in the Amazon, Orinoco and Essequibo drainages. 

Bolivia Found in the Mamor6 and Guapor6 Rivers (Pritchard and Trebbau , 
1984). 

Brazil Formerly found thoughout the Amazon drainage system, but now 
virtually extinct in the upper Amazon (Pritchard, 1979), the chief breeding 
areas are now on the rivers Trombetas, Branco, Purus and Xingu (Alho, 1985). 

Colombia Found in the Solimoes, Putumayo and Caqueta rivers in the Amazon 
drainage; and in the Rio Meta and its tributaries in the Orinoco system 
(Pritchard and Trebbau, 1984). The Cahuinari watershed, in the Caqueta system, 
is now the main refuge in Colombia (Hildebrand, 1985). 

Ecuador Said by Pritchard and Trebbau (1984) to be possibly present, 
although no specimens exist; the occurrence was confirmed by Hoogmoed (in 
Jitt., 26 August 1986). Iverson (1986) mapped one occurrence on the Peruvian 
border. 

French Guiana Recorded by Groombridge (1982) as possibly present, but 
Pritchard and Trebbau (1984) concluded that there was no good evidence that 
the species had ever occurred in the country. Fretey (in press) mentions a 
specimen captured at Ilet Bache in the Orapak Estuary in the Paris Museum 
(MNHNP 1980-1462) but indicated that confirmatory observations were needed. 

Guyana Said to be present in several rivers (Mittermeier , 1978), including 
the Essequibo system (Pritchard, 1979). However there are no authenticated 
records from the country, although shells in the possession of indians have 
been observed at Lethem, on the Takutu River, a tributary of the Rio Negro 
(Pritchard and Trebbau, 1984). 



36 



Podocnemis expansa 

Peru Found in the Amazon River system, including the Rio Haranon and Rio 
Ucayali, although it is said to have been extirpated from the region of 
Iquitos (Dixon and Soini, 1986). The main surviving nesting area is now on the 
Rio Pacaya (Pritchard and Trebbau , 1984). 

Suriname Pritchard and Trebbau (198A) concluded that there was no good 
evidence that the species had ever occurred in the country. This was 
corroborated by Hoogmoed (In lltt., 26 August 1986). 

Trinidad and Tobago Individuals are sometimes washed up on the south coast 
of Trinidad by the Orinoco in flood, but no breeding has ever been recorded 
(Pritchard and Trebbau, 1984). 

Venezuela Found thoughout the Orinoco drainage system from the delta to 
Boca Mavaca in the upper Orinoco; mostly in the main Orinoco, but some ascend 
the Rio Capanaparo, Rio Cinaruco, Rio Meta, and occasionally the Rio Apur6; 
the main surviving nesting beach is on the Orinoco, downstream from Puerto 
Paez, near the Colombian border. There is no evidence of exchange with the 
population in the Amazon via the Casguiare Canal (Pritchard and Trebbau, 
1984). Introduced to Lake Valencia in the Andean Highlands (Pritchard, 1979). 

POPULATION Very abundant in previous centuries (Bates, 1863; Goeldi , 1906; 
Mittermeier, 1975; Smith, 1979), Podocnemis expansa was already rapidly 
declining in the latter half of the nineteenth century, and is now severely 
depleted throughout most of its range. 

Bolivia No infromation. 

Brazil In Brazil, the core of the range, many former nesting beaches are 
deserted (Vanzolini, 1967), it is rare today to find a single P. expansa in 
the Upper Amazon (Mittermeier, 1975). The species was still plentiful enough 
in the mid-19th century on the Rio Madeira for example, for the gathering of 
nesting females to impede river traffic, ana on one occasion (also on the 
Madeira) rows of turtles eight to ten deep stretched along the waterside for 
six to seven miles (Smith, 1974). Similarly, in the late eighteenth century 
P. expansa were reported to be exceptionally large and abundant around 
Itacoatiara (Amazonas), they were still an important dietary item in the 
mid-nineteenth century (Smith, 1979), but today they are virtually eliminated 
and the few that appear on the market come mainly from the Rio Uatuma, 80 km 
away (Smith, 1979). The Institute Brasileiro de Desenvolvimento Florestal 
(IBDF) has embarked on a programme to prevent hunting and to protect 
P. expansa nesting beaches in the Lower Amazon. Between 1976 and 1978 at 
Leonardo Beach on the Rio Trombetas, there is reported to have been an 
increase of around 50% in the number of hatchlings produced (Groombridge , 
1982). However, Ayres and Best (1979) suggested that such apparent increases 
might reflect nesting females moving into the relatvely undisturbed nesting 
beach from other areas, as there was not sufficient time for the reproductive 
segment of the population to have increased. More recently, this view and the 
data on which it was based have been questioned as there is still considerable 
human disturbance. In 1983, 1984 and 1985, there was virtually no successful 
nesting on the Rio Trombetas. In 1985, out of a previous population of 
6000-8000 females on the Rio Trombetas, only 200-300 females nested and only 
one nest is known to have hatched successfully, the remaining nests having 
been plundered by the local people (J. A. Mortimer, In lltt., 18 October 
1986) . The most recent estimates of the main breeding populations are given 
in Table 1. Groombridge (1982) reported that population numbers appeared to 
be stable on the Guapore, Branco, Purus and Jurua, and increasing on the 
Trombetas, Tapajos and Xingu. In view of the fact that the population on the 
Trombetas still appears to be under severe pressure, the security of 
populations in other rivers deserves more critical scrutiny. 

37 



Podocnemls expansa 

Table 1. Estimates of the numbers of nesting females and hatchlings in 

Brazil. Figures in 1979 from Padua {in lltt.) cited by Groombridge (1982), 

for 1978-198:? from Alho (1985), and for 1985 from Mortimer (.In lltt., 18 
October 1986) . 



River 


Hat 


chlings 


Hatchlings 


Nesting 
females 


Nesting 
females 






1979 


1978-1982 


1978- 


-1982 


1985 


Purus 




49000 


104300 




1117 




Jurua 




80000 


21400 




291 




Guapore 




12000 


11470 




226 




Branco 




153000 


180756 




1935 




Tapajos 




18000 


18566 




353 




Xingu 




146000 


98450 




1859 




Trombetas 




480786 * 


393345 




5184 


300 



* data from Leonardo Beach in 1978 (Alho et al 



1979). 



Colombia Populations of P. expansa have declined drastically in Colombia, 
having disappeared from most of the rivers in which they used to occur. In the 
Orinoco system they used to be common 20 years ago on the Rios Manacacias, 
Ete, Casanare and Meta, reaching to within 25 )uii of Villavicencio . There is 
still one nesting beach on the Rio Meta, below Orocue (Pritchard and Trebbau, 
1984). In the Amazon drainage the Caqueta River is practically the only one 
where they still exist, nesting at beaches between Pedrera and Araracuara. The 
decrease in numbers is particularly noticable each year in the nesting season 
(Hildebrand et al . , 1983). An intensive study was initiated in 1983 in 
conjunction with INDERENA (Instituto para el Desarrollo de los Recursos 
Naturales Renovables) and Fundacion Estacion de Biologia Puerto Rastrojo. 34 
breeding beaches were located, and four main beaches were selected for 
intensive study. On these four beaches, 87 nests were located in 1983/84, and 
43 in 1984/85 (Hildebrand, 1985). 



Ecuador No information. 



Peru The species is rare in most areas of Amazonian Peru, having been 
extirpated from the region of Iquitos, where it was once common (Pritchard and 
Trebbau, 1984; Dixon and Soini, 1986). Viable populations still exist in a 
few isolated areas, for example in the National Reserve of Pacaya-Samiria 
(Soini, 1980). 

Venezuela The overall decline of the species is exemplified by data from 
the upper Orinoco in Venezuela. Whereas Humboldt estimated 330 000 animals in 
1799 and 1800, numbers were down to an estimated 123 600 in 1945, 36 100 in 
1950, and 13 800 in 1965 (Mi tterroeier , 1978; Ojasti, 1971). Surveys in 1981 
indicated that the population was only one-third of that estimated in 1965. 
The site of this investigation, Playa del Medio on the Rio Orinoco, together 
with Pararuma beach are the major nesting areas for P. expansa in 
Venezuela. The 1981 season was atypical climatically, with unexpected summer 
flooding, and it is possible the results were affected by this; however, the 
results are thought to adequately represent the general situation in 
Venezuela. Pararuma beach, formerly one of the most important sites in 
Venezuela, had only 30 nesting animals in 1981 (Groombridge, 1982). Another 
population, on the Rio Meta along part of the Colombia-Venezuela border, is 
now also greatly reduced although it was still possible to see aggregations of 
up to 6000 turtles basking on the beaches even recently (Pritchard and 

38 



Podocnemls expansa 

Trebbau , 1984). The species is considered to be threatened or in danger of 
extinction (Venezuela CITES MA, 1987). 

HABITAT AND ECOLOGY A large freshwater turtle, by far the largest of the 
living Podocnemis species, a maximum length of 89 cm has been recorded, 
(Pritchard and Trebbau, 198*) although the mean length of a more typical 
sample of 38 was around 70 cm (Vanzolini, 1967). Males are smaller than 
females. Individuals may reach 50 kg ;Mi ttermeier , 1978). Occurs in large 
rivers, oxbow lakes, and during the flood season, in lakes formed by rivers 
and in flooded forest areas (igapos) (Groombridge , 1982). Turtles re-enter 
rivers at the start of the dry season as nesting beaches become exposed. 

Podocnemis species are omnivorous but predominantly vegetarian, feeding on 
aquatic plants and fruits that fall into the water, but also consuming animal 
material such as dead fish (Mi ttermeier , 1978). Best (1984) provides a table 
of over 31 species of plant consumed by P. expansa . 

The growth rate in the wild has been estimated at 0.5 cm a year for mature 
females or 1.5 cm a year for smaller females (Ojasti, 1971). In captivity in 
Hanaus , hatchlings have grown from a carapace length at emergence of 55 mm 
(22 g) to 85 mm (85 g) after one year and 112 mm (187 g) after two (Alho and 
Padua, 1982b). Alho (1985) reports extremely fast growth in captivity, 
hatchlings attaining 400 g after one year. The age at first breeding is not 
known, but it appears that females do not mature until they attain a carapace 
length of 50 cm (Alho and Padua, 1982a). Pritchard and Trebbau (1984) suggest 
that they may normally not mature until about 15 years old. In captivity they 
have been known to breed at 8 years old (Alho, 1985). 

The nesting season varies from June - July in the upper Amazon in Brazil, to 
October - November in the lower Amazon. In the Iguitos region, and the basins 
of the Rio Tapiche and Rio Pacaya, nesting is in August - September. In 
Venezuela, the species nests from mid-February to early March, when water 
levels in the Orinoco and its tributaries are at their lowest (hatching here 
is in early May) (Groombridge, 1982). On the Rio Trombetas in Brazil the 
nesting season is in the middle of October, turtles begin to gather off the 
principal nesting beaches in September. On the Rio Caqueta in Colombia there 
is an extended nesting period from October to about March. Eggs laid in 
October and November are particularly at risk from flooding (Hildebrand, 1985). 

Sand beaches are required; nesting usually occurs in large aggregations on a 
few selected beaches, although individuals may occasionally nest in outlying 
areas (Pritchard and Trebbau, 1984, Magnusson, pers . comm. ) . Basking 
behaviour by the females, which can be observed until the end of the laying 
season, begins 15 days before the season begins. This behaviour occurs during 
the hottest hours of the day, generally from 10.00 until 16.00 hrs. At times 
500 animals can be seen basking, with others swimming in the shallow water 
with their heads above water, breathing or watching the beach (Alho and Padua, 
1982a; Alho, 1985) . 

The turtles emerge silently from the water, led initially by a few 
individuals, and head toward the higher surfaces of the beach. The actual 
nesting process is complex, and completion of the nest hole itself may take 
around 100 minutes (Vanzolini, 1967). An irregular shallow body pit is first 
scooped out by forceful sweeps of the body and scooping with all four limbs. 
A deeper pit is then formed, using first one hindlimb then the other, and 
swinging the body back and forth through 90" as each hindlimb is used in 
turn. The finished pit is 70-100 cm deep and 100-150 cm in diameter at the 
mouth. At this stage the turtle's head is about level with the sand surface, 
and the egg chamber is then formed at the bottom of the p't, partly using the 
hind margin of the carapace. Egg-laying takes around 15-35 minutes, during 

39 



Podocnemis expansa 

this time the body is at an extreme angle, more than 45* and sometimes almost 
vertical. Afterwards the nest is filled and the sand is compacted by the 
raising and rapid lowering of the plastron onto the surface, before the turtle 
returns to the water (Alho and Padua, 1982a). The clutch size normally varies 
from 63 to 134 eggs with a mean of 91.5 (Alho, 1985). The largest recorded was 
156, laid by a 75-cm (56-k.g) female (Pritchard and Trebbau, 1984); in Peru the 
range in examined nests was 80-133 (Groombridge , 1982). Research at the Rio 
Trombetas in Brazil showed that clutch size was positively correlated with 
carapace length. An average of 86 hatchlings emerged (94%) after a mean 
incubation period of 48 days (Alho and Padua, 1982a). In Colombia, eggs from 
15 natural nests hatched with 69% success, with incubation periods between 50 
and 60 days; the temperature in the nest chambers varied from 28*C to 35'C, 
with a mean of 31°C (Hildebrand, 1985). The nesting season coincides with the 
hottest time of year, and temperatures in the nest chambers at the Rio 
Trombetas site were found to fluctuate between 30'C and 39''C (Alho and Padua, 
1982a). As in other reptiles, the sex of the hatchlings is influenced by the 
incubation temperature, males predominating when the temperature is low (Alho, 
1984; Alho et al . , in press). 

Tagging of turtles in Venezuela indicates that females breed once a year, and 
may continue nesting for at least 15 years (Pritchard and Trebbau, 1984). 

After emerging the hatchlings move straight down the beach, running the 
gauntlet of assembled predatory birds, and into the water, where they become 
prey to a variety of predators, ranging from fish and caimans to herons, 
vultures and otters (Best, 1984). There is very little natural predation of 
eggs in the nests, but predation of hatchlings is heavy. Alho (1985) asserted 
that fewer than 20% of the hatchlings return to the beaches to breed. 

Podocnemis expansa and P. sextuberculata are notable in that nesting is 
restricted to relatively low beaches or bars of pure sand; they are thus 
particularly vulnerable to fluctuations in water level at the nest site 
(Vanzolini, 1977). For example, in 1973 all P. expansa nests on the Rio 
Trombetas (the largest Icnown present-day nesting area in Brazil) were flooded 
and destroyed before hatching (Mi ttermeier , 1978), and in 1980, 99% of the 
eggs were destroyed (Alho and Padua, 1982a); at Playa del Medio on the 
Venezuelan Orinoco 25-80% of the annual egg production may be lost in this 
manner (Mi ttermeier, 1978). In Venezuela this factor certainly appears to be 
the principal source of egg and hatchling mortality; natural non-human 
predation seems to be much less significant (Groombridge, 1982). Whereas most 
Podocnemis nest singly or in small groups, P. expansa is exceptional in 
nesting principally in large, synchronized aggregations, although some 
solitary nesting also takes place. The social nesting of P. expansa recalls 
the synchonized mass nesting (arribada) of most populations of marine Olive 
Ridley Turtles {Lepldochelys ollvacea) . However, it differs in several 
respects. For example, in P. expansa, nests are concentrated in a 
restricted area of beach, and the nesting females are highly tolerant of 
disturbance by other females (Vanzolini, 1967). The reverse is the case in 
gregarious sea turtles. P. expansa digs deeper nests than other species of 
Podocnemis, and so it is possible that the choice of nest site is more 
restricted owing to the greater danger of flooding. 

THREATS TO SURVIVAL The major current threat to the species, apart from the 
natural mortality caused by flooding of nests, is the very heavy exploitation 
of adults (including nesting females) and eggs for food. An adult 
P. expansa can provide up to 13-14 kg of meat (Smith, 1974), and this turtle 
has always been a valuable food resource for the human population, both the 
local inhabitants and through more distant market outlets (Mittermeier , 1978; 
Smith, 1974; Smith, 1979). 



40 



Podocnemls expaitsa 

Although P. expansa is one of several turtles that provided a valuable food 
resource (also a medium of exchange and a source of raw materials) for the 
indigenous peoples of Amazonia, and is often embodied in tribal mythology, the 
intensity of exploitation only rose to critical levels following European 
colonisation (Smith, 1974; Smith, 1979). European traders and missionaries 
were perhaps mainly interested in P. expansa as a source of oil for cooking, 
lighting and other purposes. The finest oil was prepared by boiling fresh 
turtle fat, the rest of the turtle was typically thrown away (Smith, 1974). A 
coarser oil was prepared by crushing eggs. The extent of this exploitation in 
the eighteenth century was enormous; it was estimated that 5000 jars of oil 
were harvested annually from three major nest beaches on the Orinoco, each jar 
contained 25 bottles, each bottle the contents of about 200 eggs. Depending 
on the precise clutch size, this would represent the wasted reproductive 
effort of about 400 000 females (Mi ttermeier , 1975; Mittermeier, 1978). A 
similar intensity of exploitation was maintained in the Brazilian Amazon 
(Smith, 1974; Smith, 1979). The females, after laying, were gathered into 
artificial enclosures along the rivers to provide a food store, for use 
notably when fish were harder to catch during the flood periods; it is 
estimated (Smith, 1979) that two million Podocnemls were killed annually in 
the mid-eighteenth century in the state of Amazonas alone. Intensive 
predation on adults and eggs, sustained over three centuries, has brought 
P. expansa to its present severely depleted condition. The survival of the 
species may be largely due to the introduction of kerosene and vegetable oils 
in the latter part of the nineteenth century, replacing turtle products 
(Smith, 1974). 

Habitat modification, notably clearance of floodplain forests that provide a 

food source for P. expansa and other Podocnemls, and changes in river 

regime following construction of hydroelectric dams, constitutes an as yet 
unquantified threat (Smith, 1979). 

Brazil Trade in P. expansa for human consumption still occurs. In Hanaus 
important occasions are celebrated with a banquet of turtle, for which very 
high prices may be paid (Alho, 1985). The increasing rarity of the species 
has raised the market price until this food source is out of reach of those 
people who would most need it. Fifty years ago in Manaus, a large 
P. expansa cost the equivalent of US$0.01, but the present-day equivalent 
may be up to US$80 or $100 (Mittermeier, 1978; Smith, 1979). An animal of 
30 kg or more is worth $150 (Groombridge , 1982). In Itacoatiara, much closer 
to remaining P. expansa localities, the price is still $60, and probably 
fewer than 50 are consumed each year (Smith, 1979). 

In 1983 a nesting beach at Monte Cristo, near Fordlandia in Para, was 
completely devastated when hunters caught all the nesting females (Alho, 
1984). Human disturbance of nest sites is an important factor on the Rio 
Trombetas, the problems being compounded by surveying activity for the 
hydro-electric dam which is to be built upstream. In spite of protection 
which is supposed to be given by the staff of IBDF, of a total of an estimated 
200-300 nests laid along the Rio Trombetas in 1985, only one is known to have 
hatched successfully, the remaining nests having been plundered by the local 
people (J. A. Mortimer, in lltt., 18 October 1986). 

During regular inspections at Manaus and in control operations on the Rio 
Purus, 192 turltes were confiscated by IBDF, of which 19% were P. expansa. 
6811 of the turltes were female, 31% male, and the rest juvenile. A total of 75 
boats were boarded, and 10 of these were transporting illegally acquired 
wildlife products (Rebelo, 1984). Turtles caught in Colombia are also 
smuggled into Brazil for sale in Tefe (see below). 



41 



Podocnemls expansa 

Bolivia Mallinson (1966, fide Pritchard and Trebbau, 198^) reported that 
there was heavy exploitation of P. expansa at Gujara-Mirim, on the Rio 
Mainore, the border with Brazil. During a 6-month season, 3000-4000 turtles 
were shipped out of this region to Porto Velho. 

Colombia Although there has long been subsistence use of turtles by 
Indians, the commercial traffic in P. expansa developed mainly in the late 
1950s. It became particularly intense in the 1960s, with respites in 1965-1967 
and 1971-1976, when the traffic in other wildlife sicins (cats, caiman, otters) 
caused a reduction in the numbers of turtles taken. Trade in turtle skin is 
virtually non-existant , the major commerce being in adult animals, which are 
smuggled into Brazil (Hildebrand, 1985). 

The local Indians along the Caqueta exploit all stages in the life cycle of 
P. expansa: eggs are removed from the nests, hatchlings are caught as they 
emerge, adult females are taken on the nesting beaches, and adults of both 
sexes may be caught in the lakes and rivers. A survey of 45 of the 80 families 
living along the Caqueta River showed that they destroyed over 250 nests of 
eggs and 60 nests of hatchlings in 1983/8A, and 200 nests of eggs and 40 of 
hatchlings in 1984/85. 250 adult females were caught on the nesting beaches in 
the first year and 200 the following year. A further 50 or so animals were 
caught along the rivers in each year. It is estimated that this resulted in a 
total loss of about 59 000 and 35 000 eggs destroyed in the two years 
respectively (Hildebrand, 1985). 

In 1984 there were approximately ten boats involved in taking turtles caught 
on the Caqueta down the river to Brazil, where they were mostly offloaded at 
Tefe. In 1983/84, they took a total of 400 P. expansa, 150 of which were 
consumed on the boats before they reached their destination. The following 
year only about 70 turtles were taken, owing to improved control measures. It 
was thought that the presence of the research team had caused a decrease in 
the volume of trade in 1983/84 to half its previous levels. The price of each 
turtle rises from CPs700-1000 near the nesting beach, to CPsl500-2500 at La 
Pedrera, to CPs5000-10000 in Tefe (US$1 = CPs90) . There is no commercial 
traffic in eggs or hatchlings, and all of the adult turtles are shipped out 
down the river towards Tefe (Hildebrand, 1985). 

Venezuela Collection of nesting females was legally prohibited in 1962, and 
patrolling of the beaches by the Guardia Nacional has reduced the numbers 
taken to low levels. Some turtles are still captured in the feeding grounds by 
local fishermen. The Creoles tend to use baited hooks and lines, while the 
indians prefer harpoons and arrows (Pritchard and Trebbau, 1984). A similar 
price rise to that seen in Brazil has occurred in Venezuela (Smith, 1974). On 
the illegal market in Venezuela, one animal can fetch Bs400 in Puerto Ayacucho 
(capital of the Territoria Federal Amazonas); higher prices can be reached, in 
San Fernando de Apure and Caicara del Orinoco for example (Groombridge , 1982). 
For a brief period in the early 1960s, hatchlings were exported as pets, but 
they seldom survived the low temperatures to which they were exposed, and the 
trade was soon stopped (Pritchard and Trebbau, 1984). 

The population of P. expansa in Venezuela is thought to be seriously 
affected by the number of motorized cargo-boats travelling daily between 
Puerto Ayacucho and the lower Orinoco; this traffic causes great disturbance 
to the nesting beaches during the breeding season, when turtles are 
aggregating, basking and nesting (Groombridge, 1982). 

IMTERNATIOMAL TRADE Apart from the illegal cross-border trade in live 
P. expansa for human consumption, noted in the previous section, there are 
very few reports of international trade in this species. Between 1980 and 1983 
the total trade reported to CITES amounted to 1437 skins, five live animals 

42 



Podocnemls expansa 

and three shells, with a few manufactured products such as handbags. No trade 
in these products was reported in 198A or 1985 (Table 2). The great majority 
of this trade comprised a single shipment of 1292 sicins, country of origin 
Colombia, exported from F.R. Germany to Italy in 1981. The skin of 
Podocnemls is normally considered to be of little value and it is possible 
that these were actually the sicins of marine turtles which were declared as 
P. expansa to evade CITES controls (P. Dollinger, pers. comm. ) . Were it not 
for this shipment, P. expansa would not have featured in the survey of 
significant trade in Appendix II species. In view of the extensive 
exploitation for human consumption, it would appear that international 
commercial trade in skins, if it occurs at all, is insignificant. 



Table 2. 
CITES. 



Minimum net imports of products of Podocnemls expansa reported to 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Canada 

Italy 

Japan 

UK 

USA 



8 h'bags 
35 sicins 1292 sicins 



2 shells 



16 h'bags 
1 shell 



3 live 
1 shell 



2 live 
1 shell 



CONSERVATION MEASURES The protection status of P. expansa is summarised 
in Table 3, where it can be seen that it is nominally protected throughout all 
its confirmed range. This legislation is difficult or impossible to enforce, 
and effective protection is largely limited to the major nesting beaches, with 
occasional attempts to control river traffic. Exploitation is unchecked in 
other parts of Amazonia (Mi ttermeier . 1978); in Peru, for example, where 
legislation simply means that trading continues covertly (Groombr idge, 1982). 

Table 3. Legal prohibition on the hunting, internal trade and commercial 
export of P. expansa. Dates are those on which the legislation came into 
force. A - All live animals & parts; P - Allowed under permit (source, mostly 
from Fuller and Swift, 1985). 



CITES 



Bolivia 

Brazil 

Colombia 

Ecuador 

Guyana 

Peru 

Venezuela 



1979 
1975 
1981 
1975 
1977 
1975 
1978 



Hunting 


A 


1979 


A 


1967 


A 




A 


1973 


A 


1962 



Trade 



Export 



A 


1979 


A 


1967 


A 




A 


1973 


A 


1962 



A 


1979 


A 


1967 


A 




A 


1981 


P 




A 


1973 


A 


1962 



The primary requirements in future are to limit continuing over-exploitation, 
continue and extend protection of nesting beaches, and continue ecological 
studies with a view to rational management. It has been suggested that 
controlled exploitation is a preferable option to total protection in Brazil, 
and outline plans for a ranching scheme have been put forward (Mittermeier , 



43 



Podocnemls expansa 

1978; Alho, 1984; Alho, 1985). Action in Brazil, Peru and Venezuela provides 
an essential foundation. Specific data should be sought on the movements and 
fate of hatchlings translocated in the IBDF programme, to aid in design of 
future conservation action (Groombridge, 1982). 

The lUCN/SSC Freshwater Chelonian Specialist Group plans highest priority 
projects on the ecology and conservation of this and related species. 

Brazil Nesting beaches are supposedly protected by the Instituto Brasileiro 
de Desenvolvimento Florestal (IBDF) on the Rios Trombetas, Xingu, Tapajos, 
Guapore, Branco, Purus and Jurua. But the efficacy of the protection, on the 
Trobetas at least, has been cast into doubt (J. A. Mortimer, in lltt., 18 
October 1986). The protection planned extends from the pre-nesting 
aggregation of females until hatching of the eggs. Hatchlings are protected 
from predation in enclosed waters until full absorbtion of the yolk sac 
(assumed to be the greatest attractant to predators); they are then released 
in shallow water near lakes, far from predators congregated at the nest 
beach. This work is financed by Programas de Polos Agropecuar ios e Minerais 
de Amazonia (POLAMAZONIA) . The IBDF, assisted by the Universidade de 
Brasilia, is collecting data on population size and trends, migration, 
hatchling and adult behaviour, etc., and attempting to develop an economic 
model relating to the feasibility of rearing turtles (Groombridge, 1982; 
Rebelo, 1984; Alho, 1985). Plans for a comprehensive ranching and release 
programme were put forward by Alho (1985). At present there are no data on 
the effects of the IBDF programme of translocating hatchlings to lakes away 
from the nest beach. Doubts have been expressed as to the likelihood of such 
hatchlings finding the traditional nesting areas or establishing a new site, 
and the success of the programme cannot be confirmed until translocated 
hatchlings have been observed to breed and nest successfully (Groombridge, 
1982). Sporadic checks are made on boats passing up and down the Amazon in 
Brazil (Rebelo, 1984), but turtles are still sold openly in the market at 
Manaus . 

Colombia A research project was established on the Caqueta river in 1983. 
Major nesting beaches were located and monitored. Eggs were collected from 
nests about to be flooded, and were moved to new sites to complete their 
incubation. Hatchlings from natural nests were also kept in pens for four to 
six weeks to reduce neonatal predation; they were subsequently released in 
nearby lakes or islands in the river. The presence of the research staff 
reduced the numbers of nesting females captured by commercial traders, but it 
was thought that this effect would cease when the researchers withdrew, unless 
more effective policing could be established. The local indians and other 
inhabitants were encouraged to control the exploitation of eggs and 
hatchlings, and to ensure that any nests opened were fully utilised to prevent 
wastage. They were encouraged not to take females on the nesting beaches 
before laying had been completed. They were also persuaded not to work with 
Brazilian turtle dealers; and river patrols intercepted several boats bound 
for Brazil. This was reflected in a five-fold decrease in the number of 
turtles smuggled downriver in 1984/85 (Hildebrand, 1985). 

For the future it was thought essential that the research programme on the Rio 
Caqueta should continue, in order to encourage the participation of the local 
inhabitants in the conservation measures, and to deter the commercial turtle 
traders from returning. More effective inspection and control of Brazilian 
river traffic was advocated. It was suggested that the Cahuinari watershed be 
turned into a national park to ensure continued protection (Hildebrand, 1985). 

Venezuela The effect of rearing and releasing hatchlings in Venezuela in 
the 1950s and 1960s was uncertain and the schemes were abandoned (Smith, 

44 



Podocnemls expansa 

1974). At present in Venezuela, hatchlings are sometimes rescued from nests 
in danger of flooding, but the effectiveness of this is unknown. The major 
nesting beaches in Venezuela are protected by the National Guard (Groombridge, 
1982) . 



CAPTIVE BREEDING Captive breeding has been achieved at the Museu Goeldi in 
Belem (Alho, 1985). The majority of the other schemes to rear P. expansa in 
captivity involve the use of eggs or hatchlings taken from the wild (Alfinito, 
1980). Experience of the incubation of eggs in artificial nests has been 
documented by Hildebrand (1985). Eggs, threatened by flooding, were moved to 
new sites to complete their incubation. Of 15 clutches moved in this way, 
hatchlings were produced from 11, the hatching success varying from 14T. to 
921. The low success was thought to be associated with problems of maintaining 
temperature and humidity. 

Apart from the head-starting programmes in Brazil and Colombia, artificial 
rearing of hatchlings has also been attempted in Brazil at Rio Trombetas, 
Manaus and Brasilia. High mortality was experienced in Brasilia owing to the 
low temperatures, and the hatchlings had to be moved to indoor tanks, after 
which they grew at rates similar to those experienced at the two warmer sites 
(Alho and Padua, 1982b) . 

The Centro Experimental para Cria?ao em Cativiero de Animais Nativos de 
Interesse Cientifico e Economico (CECAN), established in 1977 by IBDF and the 
Ministerio da Agriculture outside Manaus, originally had plans to keep 
P. expansa, but these were subsequently abandoned. 

Young P expansa are commonly kept as pets by people living in Amazonia 

(Alho and Padua, 1982b). A survey of 260 zoological collections in 1985 

revealed a total of 18 P. expansa in six different collections (Slavens, 
1985) . 

REFERENCES 

Alfinito, J. (1980). A tartaruga verdadeira do Amazonas - sua criacao. 

Belem, FCAP . Servico de Documentacao e Informacao. FCAP Informs Tecnlco 

No.S. 
Alho, C.J.R. (1984). A ciencia do manejo da fauna silvestre. Revlsta 

Braslllera de Tecnologla 15(6): 24-33. 
Alho, C.J.R. (1985). Conservation and management strategies for commonly 

exploited Amazonian turtles. Biological Conservation 32: 291-298. 
Alho, C.J.R., Carvalho, A.G., and Padua L.F.M. (1979). Ecologia da tartaruga 

da Ajnazonia e avaliacao de seu manejo na Reserve Biologica de Trobetas . 

Brazil Florestal 9(38): 29-47. IBDF, Brazil. 
Alho, C.J.R. and Padua L.F.M. (1982a). Reproductive parameters and nesting 

behaviour of the Amazon turtle Podocnemls expansa (Testudinata: 

Pelomedusidae) in Brazil. Canadian Journal of Zoology 60: 97-103. 
Alho, C.J.R. and Padua L.F.M. (1982b). Early growth of pen-reared Amazon 

Turtles Podocnemls expansa (Testudinata, Pelomedusidae). Revlsta 

Braslllera de Blologla 42(4): 641-646. 
Alho, C.J.R., Padua L.F.M. and Danni , T.M.S. (in press). Temperature- 
dependent sex determination in Podocnemls expansa (Testudinata: 

Pelomedusidae). Biotropica. 
Ayres, J.M., and Best, R.C. (1979). Strategies for the conservation of the 

fauna of Brazilian Amazonia. Acta Amazonlca 9(4), Suppl: 81-101. 
Bates, H.W. (1863). The naturalist on the River Amazon. John Murray, 

London. 



45 



Podocnemls expansa 

Best, R.C. (1984). The aquatic mamamals and reptiles of the Amazon. In: Sioli, 

H. (ed), The Amazon. Limnology and landscape ecology of a mighty tropical 

river and Its basin. Dr W. Junlc, Netherlands, pp. 371-412. 
Dixon, J.R. and Soini, P. (1986). The reptiles of the Upper Amazon Basin, 

Igultos Region, Peru. Part 1, Lizards anbd Amphlsbaenlans; Part 2, 

Crocodllians , Turtles and Snakes. Milwaukee Public Museum. 
Fretey, J. (in press). Les tortues de Guyane Francalse. 
Fuller, K.S. and Swift, B. (1985). Latin American wildlife trade laws. 

Second Edition. World Wildlife Fund-US, 392 pp. 
Goeldi, E.A. (1906). Chelonios de Brasil. Boletlm do Museu Paraense Bmlllo 

Goeldl It: 699-756. 
Groombridge, B. (1982). The lUCN Amphibia - Reptllia Red Data Book, Part 1, 

Testudlnes , Crocodylla, Rhynchocephala. lUCN, Galnd Switzerland, 426 pp. 
Hildebrand, P. von (1985). Biology and conservation of Podocnemls expansa in 

the Rio Caqueta of eastern Colombia. Final Report. Fundacion Estacion de 

Biologia Puerto Rastrojo. 
Hildebrand, P. von, Andrade, G.I. and Defler, T. (1983). Project proposal - 

Requests for funds from WWF and lUCN. 
Iverson, J.B. (1986). A checklist with distribution maps of the turtles of 

the world. Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana. 
Mallinson, J.J.C. (1966). The river turtles of the Amazon. International 

Turtle and Tortoise Society Journal 1: 34-35. 
Mittermeier, R.A. (1975). A turtle in every pot. Animal Kingdom 78(2): 

9-14. 
Mittermeier, R.A. (1978). South America's river turtles: saving them by use. 

Oryx 14(3): 222-230. 
Ojasti, J. (1971). La tortuga arrau del Orinoco. Defensa de la Naturaleza 

1(2): 3-9. 
Pritchard, P.C.H. (1979). Encyclopedia of Turtles. T.F.H. Publications, 

New Jersey and Hong Kong, 895 pp. 
Pritchard, P.C.H. and Trebbau, P. (1984). The turtles of Venezuela. Society 

for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Oxford, Ohio, 403 pp. + plates. 
Rebelo, G.H. (1984). Projeto Quelonios. Relatorio No. 01/84. IBDF Unpublished 

Report, 7 pp. 
Slavens, F.L. (1985). Inventory of live reptiles and amphibians In captivity 

current January 1, 198S . F.L. Slavens, Washington, 341 pp. 
Smith, N.J.H. (1974). Destructive exploitation of the South American River 

Turtle. Yearbook of the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers 36(c): 

85-102. Oregon State University. (Reprinted 1975 in Chelonla 2(5): 

3-9,30) . 
Smith, N.J.H. (1979). Aquatic turtles of Amazonia: an endangered resource. 

Biological Conservation 16(3): 165-176. 
Soini, P. (1980). Informe de Pacaya No . 2 : reproduccion , manejo y conservacion 

de los quelonios del genero Podocnemls (Charapa, Cupiso y Taricaya) . 
Vanzolini, P.E. (1967), Notes on the nesting behaviour of Podocnemls 

expansa in the Amazon valley (Testudines, Pelomedus idae) . Papels 

Avulsos do Departamento de Zoologla, Secretarla da Agrlcultura, Sao Paulo 

20(17): 191-215. 
Vanzolini, P.E. (1977). A brief biometrical note on the reproductive biology 

of some South American Podocnemls (Testudines, Pelomedusidae) . Papels 

Avulsos do Departamento de Zoologla, Secretarla da Agrlcultura, Sao Paulo 

31(5): 79-102. 



46 



SPECTACLED CAIMAN Reconmended list: 1 

[Problem] 
Caiman crocodllus (Linnaeus 1758) 

Order CROCODYLIA Family ALLIGATORIDAK 

SUMMAKT AND COWCLUSIOWS Widely distributed in Latin America from Mexico to 
Paraguay, this small caiman still occurs in appreciable numbers in many swamps 
and rivers, occasionally in estuaries. Populations are reported to have 
recovered slightly as a result of protection in Ecuador, Brazil and Venezuela, 
but are still declining in many countries, including Paraguay, Bolivia and 
Colombia. 

The species is hunted intensely for skins, over a million of which are in 
trade each year, the great majority being exported illegally from their 
countries of origin. Recent protection measures mean that skin exports are now 
only permitted from El Salvador, Guyana, Venezuela, Bolivia and Suriname. 

A major project to assess the distribution and population status of C. 
crocodllus is currently under way in South America, and it would be premature 
to predict its findings. However it seems pointless to set further controls, 
as most trade is currently illegal and the existing legislation is obviously 
being flouted by importers and exporters alike. 

Taxonomic Note The taxonomy of what may be termed the 'Caiman crocodllus 
complex* is in a highly confused state. In this analysis four subspecies have 
been recognised. C. crocodllus apaporlensls is in Appendix I, and so has not 
been covered, but the remaining three, C. c. crocodllus, C. c. fuscus, and 
C. c. yacare, have been treated separately as regards distribution, status, 
ecology and exploitation. The international trade has been considered together 
as there is evidence that the subspecies in trade are regularly 
mis-identified. Some of the major taxonomic controversies may be summarised as 
follows (references in following accounts): 

(1) While a major field authority on South American crocodilians proposed 
several years ago that the southernmost populations (C. c. yacare)- are 
distinct enough to require full species status (C. yacare), this, opinion 
has been ignored by most subsequent workers. 

(2) The form ranging from Mexico south through Central America to Colombia and 
north-west Venezuela has usually been referred to as C. c. fuscus; it 
has been proposed that this name should only be applied to the central and 
eastern populations in Colombia and those in north-west Venezuela, while 
populations from Pacific Ecuador and Colombia north through Central 
America are distinct at subspecies level and named C. c. chlapaslus. 
While this treatment may be reasonable it is not based on 
readily-available published work. 

(3) Two new subspecies C. c. mattogrosslensls and C. c. paraguayensls have 
recently been described, and accepted in a major checklist of the group, 
while these taxa are regarded as totally without foundation by others more 
familiar with the field situation. 

Overall it appears that variation within the C. crocodllus complex is far 
from adequately represented by the present taxonomy. These might be 



47 



Caiman crocodllus 

considered fairly academic questions, but these uncertainties do appear to 
hinder effective conservation. It is clearly difficult to design or justify 
legislation when there is not a consensus position on the taxonotnlc treatment 
of animals from a particular area of concern, nor on which populations are 
most distinct and might thus deserve priority protection (if other factors are 
equal) . 

The taxonomic and population status of the whole genus is currently being 
assessed in a major project involving many South American countries, but 
principally Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay. When the results of this are 
available it should be possible to assess the levels of sustainable harvest 
with greater certainty. 

DISTRIBlTTIOli 

Caiman crocodllus crocodllus (Linnaeus 1758) 

Northern parts of South America, east of the Andes. 

Brazil Throughout the Amazon basin of Brazil with the exception of a few 
southern tributaries (Brazaitls, 1973). 

Colombia Occurs to the east of the Andes, In the Amazon and Orinoco 
drainages . 

Ecuador Found in the Amazonian region (Asanza, 1984). 

French Guiana Present (Hedem, 1973). 

Guyana Present (Medem, 1973). 

Peru Found In the Amazonian region (Hedem, 1973). 

Surlname Found throughout the northern plains and swamps (Glastra, 1983). 

Trinidad and Tobago In Tobago the range is now limited to a few rivers 
along the south coast and to the lak.e behind the Hillsborough Dam. Also 
present in Trinidad. An adult animal was caught swimming in the sea, 5 km 
north-east of Tobago in 1979 (Hardy, 1982). 

USA Introduced, probably as a result of escapes of pet animals, there is a 
small breeding population in South Florida (Behler and King, 1979). 

Venezuela Found throughout the Llanos and the Guyanan region as far as 
Amazonia (Maness, 1982; Gorzula and Paolillo, 1986). Also recorded from 
numerous localities along the north coast. The north-west of the country is 
populated by C. crocodllus fuscus and the exact range of the two subspecies 
is not known. However It is thought that the boundary is the Yaracuy River, 
with only C. crocodllus crocodllus eastwards from there (Seijas, 1986). 

Caiman crocodllus fuscus (Cope 1868) (Brown Caiman) 

Extends from southern Mexico and Nicaragua, south through Central America to 
the Pacific slopes of Ecuador, Colombia and to north-west Venezuela. 

F. Medem (the major authority on the genus Caiman) recommends (Smith and 
Smith, 1979) that the populations of the Magdalena and Sinu river systems in 



48 



Caiman crocodilus 

Colombia (extending into north-west Venezuela) be considered distinct from 
those of the Colombian Pacific coast, Central America and Mexico (Medem, 
1973). By this interpretation, which does not appear to be widely followed, 
the coastal form is referred to as Caiman crocodilus chlapaslus (Bocourt) 
and the name C. crocodilus fuscus is restricted to the Hagdalena-Sinu and 
Venezuela population. 

Colombia West of the Andes, including the Magdalena and Sinu rivers, and 
along the north coast to the Venezuelan border; also found on Isla Gorgona 
(Medem. 1979). 

Costa Rica Occurs along both the Pacific and the Caribbean coasts (Smith 
and Smith, 1979; Mena Moya, 1978; Wermuth and Fuchs, 1978). 

Cuba Introduced into Lanier Swamp, in the south-west of Isla de Pinos 
(Juventud) in about 1959 (Varona, 1980; Garrido and Jaume, 1984). 

Ecuador Occurs west of the Andes in the extreme north of the country. 

Kl Salvador Present (Serrano, 1978). 

Guatemala Occurs along the Pacific coast (Smith and Smith, 1979; Wermuth 
and Fuchs, 1978) . 

Honduras Occurs along both the Pacific and the Caribbean coasts (Wermuth 
and Fuchs, 1978; Smith and Smith, 1979). 

Mexico Recorded from the Chiapas and the extreme south of Oaxaca, on the 
Pacific coast (Smith and Smith, 1979). 

Nicaragua Occurs along both the Pacific and the Caribbean coasts (Smith and 
Smith, 1979; Wermuth and Fuchs, 1978). 

Panama Occurs throughout the length and breadth of the country (Wermuth and 
Fuchs, 1978; Panama CITES MA, 1985). 

Puerto Rico Introduced to Puerto Rico; there are reports of specimens from 
Rio Manati and from areas east of San Juan (Schwartz et aJ . , 1978; Schwartz 
and Henderson, 1985) . 

Venezuela Occurs around Lake Maracaibo, and along the north coast as far as 
the Yaracuy River, although the exact eastern limit is not certain (Maness, 
1982; Seijas. 1986). 

Caiman crocodilus yacare (Daudin 1802) (Yacare Caiman) 

Central-southern South America; in the Paraguay River drainage from the 
Pantanal and Mato Grosso to north Argentina; also the southern tributaries of 
the Amazon. 

Although generally treated as one of the several subspecies of Caiman 
crocodilus, F. Medem, the authority on the genus, prefers to regard this form 
as a full species. Caiman yacare (Medem, 1960). Two recently described taxa 
accepted by some authorities (Wermuth and Mertens. 1977), C. crocodilus 
matogrosslensls and C. crocodilus paraguayensls , are regarded as 
C. crocodilus yacare by Medem (Groombridge, 1982). 



49 



Caiman crocodllus 

Argentina Found from the Chaco to Corrientes as far south as 30*N (Fitch 
and Nadeau, 1980). Recorded In Buenos Aires, Mlsiones, Corrientes, Entre 
Rlos, Santa Fe, Santiago del Estero, Chaco, Formosa and Salta (Waller, 1987). 

Bolivia The taxonomic status of subspecies of C. crocodllus in Bolivia is 
under dispute. C. crocodllus yac&re undoubtedly occurs in the south of the 
country, but some of the populations in the north may be C. crocodllus 
crocodllus. The species's distribution includes the southern tributaries of 
the Amazon (the Mamor^, Itenez and Beni); also the Guapor6 on the 
Bolivia-Brazil border. In the south It has been recorded from the drainages of 
the Rio Paraguay and the Rio Pilcomayo (Groombrldge, 1982). 

Brazil Pantanal and Hate Grosso regions of south-west Brazil also the 
southern tributaries of the Amazon (the Araguaia above its confluence with the 
Taplrape), also the Guapor4 on the Bolivia-Brazil border (Groombrldge, 1982). 

Paraguay Widespread. 

POPULATION Populations of C. crocodllus crocodllus generally appear to be 
at least stable throughout much of South America, with the exception of 
Colombia, Peru and some parts of Guyana. This taxon might well be more 
appropriately considered non-threatened, were it not for the reported recent 
increase in hunting pressure, and the lack of data - due to trans-border 
smuggling - concerning the extent of exploitation in particular areas. 

C. crocodllus fuscus has been reported as depleted in Colombia and Ecuador, 

relatively abundant in parts of southern Mexico. Few recent data on 

populations in Central America. Further information is given below for those 
countries for which it is available. 

The overall status of C. crocodllus yacare is uncertain; each of the four 
countries in the range is reported to hold some apparently adequate 
populations, while the taxon is depleted or extirpated elsewhere. It is under 
considerable hunting pressure. 

Argentina Reportedly approaching extinction (Groombrldge, 1982). However, 
a population estimated at 200 000 individuals in 1979 (not confirmed by a full 
census) remained in the Esteros de Ibera, an immense swamp in Corrientes, 
200 km X 100 km at its widest point (Fitch and Nadeau, 1980). 

Bolivia A 1978 census in the Mamor^, Beni and Itenez regions, covering an 
area of 693 082 km^, resulted in an approximate total of 3 SOO 000 
individuals. Reportedly relatively common in 1973 in the Rio Madre de Dios. 
Recent studies at Lugo Tuml-Chucua (Beni) indicated over-hunting had occured; 
immatures were common, an average of ten caimans were seen each night. 
Reported to be relatively common in the eastern lowlands in 1976-77, including 
the Isiboro-S^cure National Park, also reported extirpated from parts of the 
eastern plains (Groombrldge, 1982). 

Brazil C. crocodllus crocodllus populations are recovering rapidly since 
professional hunting was banned (Vanzolinl and Gomes, 1979). C. crocodllus 
is now caught fairly frequently in gill nets in floodplaln lakes, even near 
Manaus , and can be seen without difficulty on tributaries of the Amazon such 
as the Rio Negro and Rio Tocantlns (Smith, 1980). Nagnusson (1982) reported 
that it occurred in high numbers in most areas, and that populations appeared 
to be limited by habitat preference rather than by disturbance by man. It has 
even colonised the artificial lakes formed behind the Transamazonian Highway, 



50 



Caiman crocodll us 

and has increased in areas where populations of Melanosuchus nlger have been 
reduced by hunting. 

C. crocodllus yacare was reportedly relatively common in parts of the Mato 
Grosso area, although severely depleted locally. A significant population 
occurs in the Caracara Reserve and at the Paragual Pantanal (Crawshaw and 
Schaller, 1980; Groombridge, 1982). In 1977, 30-40 adults were observed from 
May to June along a 20-lcm stretch of road from Cuiaba to Pocon6, 20-30 large 
individuals were also observed basking at a cattle ranch within 10 km 
(Groombridge, 1982). In the Pantanal there has been a drastic decline in 
populations of Yacare over the last five years. Among other reasons, this is 
causing concern as it is reported to be accompanied by a corresponding 
increase in numbers of Piranhas (Hyman, 1985). Brazaitis (1985) reported that 
the populations in the Pantanal were barely stable If not declining; most of 
the caimans seen were less than 2 m long, smaller than in previous years. 

Colombia C. crocodllus crocodllus was reported in late 1970s to be rarely 
hunted on the Vaupes and Guayabero-Guaviare rivers because the price of 
petrol, salt and air transport to Villavlcencio and Bogota were too high. 
Juveniles are now seen often, with some adults reappearing. There Is a 
healthy population in the 'Tomo-Tuparro' Faunistic Territory, a 600 000 ha. 
reserve maintained by INDERENA. In 1975, 350 caimans, mostly juveniles were 
counted in the lagoons and backwaters of the Capanaparo River (Medem, 
undated). However, some hunting continues in the Llanos (Orinoco plains), the 
fact that most hides are between 30-60 cm may suggest that adults have been 
virtually wiped out from this area (Medem, 1980). 

C. crocodllus fuscus was reportedly seriously depleted (Medem, 1971; Medem, 
1973), mainly by hunting, and particularly along the Caribbean coast between 
Ci^naga Grande and the Hagdalena River, also on the lower and middle Magdalena 
(Medem, 1980). There is a healthy and abundant breeding population in the 
Laguna de Cabrera, Isla Gorgona, comprising at least 28 adults and sub-adults 
(Medem, 1979). 

Costa Rica Included in a list of animals threatened with extinction, 
although C. crocodllus fuscus is said to be abundant in the Rio Tempisque 
and in Tortuguero National Park, where it is "almost impossible not to see it" 
(Mena Moya, 1978) . 

Cuba The Introduced population has thrived, to the detriment of the endemic 
Crocodylus rhomblfer because of predatlon of the young (Varona, 1980; 
Garrido and Jaume, 1984). 

Ecuador C. crocodllus crocodllus was reported to be not seriously 
endangered in 1973 (Medem, 1973). In 1983, populations were said to be 
thriving In some areas, and Indians reported that they had Increased in recent 
years (Asanza, 1984). However, populations of C. crocodllus fuscus have 
been described as seriously depleted; must be considered endangered (Medem, 
1971; Medem, 1973). 

Bl Salvador Said to be in danger of extinction, and to be in need of a 
10-year ban on hunting to allow the population to recover (Serrano, 1978). 

French Guiana Reported In 1973 to be in no serious danger of extinction 
(Medem, 1973). 

Guatemala The population of C. crocodllus fuscus in the country is 
thought to be In the region of 10 000-12 0000 (0. Menghi, pers. comm.). 



51 



Caiman crocodllus 

Guyana In 1973 Guyana populations were still abundant In most areas but 
were declining in areas where habitat had been lost to agriculture, 
particularly rice fields (Hedem, 1973). 

Honduras C. crocodllus is relatively more abundant than Crocodylus 
acutus, and its population is said to be "in balance with the habitat" on the 
north coast (Honduras CITES MA, 1985). 

Mexico Reported to be relatively abundant (Alvarez del Toro, 1974; Medem, 
1973). At Chiapas still common in some areas but declining due to 
over-exploitation (King and Brazaitls, 1971). In recent years exploitation 
has diminished somewhat as the species has become more scarce (Alvarez del 
Toro, 1974), and it is now considered to be in danger of extinction (Flores 
Villela, 1980). 

Nicaragua No information. 

Panama Said to be moderately common and widespread (Panama CITES HA, 1985). 

Paraguay Years of excessive hunting have drastically reduced populations. 
However, some individuals remain even in traditional hunting areas. Much of 
the range is relatively inaccessible and some populations are likely to 
persist (Groombrldge , 1982). C. crocodllus was said to be "scarce" In the 
Parque Naclonal Defensores del Chaco In 1978 (Torres Santlbanez, 1978). 

Peru Reported seriously depleted In 1973, judging by a rapid decline in 
numbers of hides exported (Medem, 1973). In the Parque Naclonal del Manu 
C. crocodllus was said to be "frequently observed" In 1979 (Pereya, 1979). 

Puerto Klco No information. 

Suriname Reported in 1973 to be abundant in suitable habitat In Surlname, 
with populations as close to an untouched state as could be found (Medem, 
1973). By 1983, some large-scale hunting had depleted populations In the 
Coesewijne river and swamp area, although the species was still locally common 
along the north coast and its status was not thought to be critical (Glastra, 
1983) . 

Trinidad and Tobago Abundant in parts of Trinidad including the vicinity of 
the capital (Medem, 1973). In Tobago it was formerly widespread throughout 
most of the rivers and marshes but Its range is now limited to a few rivers 
along the South coast. It was reported to be quite abundant In the lake behind 
the Hillsborough Dam (Hardy, 1982). 

Venezuela C. crocodllus crocodllus was described as still relatively 
abundant (Medem, 1973); since hunting was made illegal in 1973, the 
populations of C. crocodllus have Increased In most regions, particularly In 
the Llanos, where farmers have complained about the high densities. The 
construction of dams and reservoirs on cattle ranches has greatly Increased 
available habitat. The Mlnisterlo del Ambiente y de los Recursos Naturales 
Renovables (MARNR) censused 17 private ranches In the states of Apure, Guarlco 
and Bolivar in 1982/83 and extrapolated the results to a further 39. They 
estimated the total population on these ranches to be 700 000 to 1 000 000 
from which a cull of 70 000 was authorised (Quero de Pena, 1984). In Estado 
Bolivar it is difficult to find a body of water where this species does not 
occur. In the Guyana region Gorzula and Paolillo (1986) estimated the density 
of C. crocodllus in lakes and ponds to be 6.64 ha~^ or 23.42 km~^ of 
shore. Rivers in the same region supported densities of 2.52 km~^. It was 
not thought that the populations of caiman in this region were under threat, 



52 



Caiman crcx:odllus 

at the prevailing level of human development (Gorzula and Paollllo, 1986). The 
density of C. crocodllus in the state of Anzoategui (assumed to be 
C. crocodllus crocodllus) was estimated in 1984 to be 26.3 km"^ in the Rio 
Unare, and 1.2 lcin~^ in the Rio Never i. It was thought that the populations 
were not only abundant, but may even have increased. Reasons for this included 
the creation of new habitat, in the form of reservoirs, and the elimination of 
Crocodylus acutus , a potential competitor. In areas where the two species 
coexisted the populations of C. crocodllus were lower than elsewhere and 
only increased where the numbers of Crocodylus acutus had declined. The only 
thing which appeared to be limiting the spread of C. crocodllus populations 
was adverse ecological factors, such as saline conditions (Seijas, 1986). 

Populations of C. crocodllus fuscus were censused in 1984. A total of 830 
was counted in five reservoirs, the mean density being S.8 indiviuals per km 
of perimeter. The density in rivers in the states of Zulia and Falcon varied 
from 0.7 km~^ to 196.6 km"^ , the latter in a short stretch of the Rio 
Sanare. Large populations of C. crocodllus are also known to occur in the 
South of the Lago de Haracaibo, which was not surveyed on this occasion. It 
was thought that the populations were abundant throughout the north-coastal 
region, and were increasing in some parts (Seijas, 1986). 

HABITAT AND ECOLOGY Caiman crocodllus crocodllus seems to prefer the 
quiet waters of lakes, ponds, swamps and marshes, sometimes in brackish waters 
(Groombridge, 1982), or along the bends and meandering tributaries of large 
rivers where the currents are slight. However it may also occur in fast 
flowing water and near rapids (Vanzolini and Gomes, 1979). It is rarely found 
in small forest streams, although it occasionally ventures into them 
(Magnusson, 1982). C. crocodllus fuscus has similar habitat preference, 
occurring in swamps, lagoons, small streams, and tributaries, rather than in 
the larger rivers. It does, however, enter brackish and salt water, which 
accounts for it occurrence in forest ponds on off-shore islands. 
C. crocodllus yacare prefers open waters, marshy savannah, lakes, lagoons 
and rivers; avoids brackish or salt water (Groombridge, 1982). 

The maximum size of C. crocodllus crocodllus Is about 2.5 m, males growing 
larger than females, and also maturing at a larger size. Growth of juveniles 
is thought to be in the region of 30 cm a year up to 1 m, slowing down after 
maturity is reached (Rebelo and Magnusson, 1983). C. crocodllus fuscus is a 
small form, reaching 1-2 m in length (Groombridge, 1982). C. crocodllus 
yacare is reported to attain lengths of 2.5-3 m (Fitch and Nadeau, 1979; 
Medem, 1973), maximum size recently encountered in Bolivia (Groombridge, 1982) 
was 0.88 m snout-vent length in females, 1.2 m snout-vent length in males. 

Studies in the Venezuelan Llanos suggest that behavioural adjustment to the 
daily pattern of solar radiation plays a major role in determining daily 
activity. Individuals tend to submerge during the hottest part of the day, 
particularly at the end of the dry season. At this time of year they may also 
be found buried in the mud of shallow pools and in leaf litter in shaded parts 
of the forest. When water temperatures are seasonally high (29'>-30*C) 
daylight hours are spent in the water, in the evenings many individuals move 
on shore and remain there for much of the night. When water temperatures 
fall, individuals spend sevtral hours in the morning on land on sunny days. 
Body temperatures are maintained relatively constant (30-33'C during the day, 
and 26-30°C at night) during the transition from dry to wet seasons (Lang, 
1977). 



53 



Caiman crocodllus 

Juvenile C. crocodllus crocodllus of up to nearly a meter in length feed 
entirely on aquatic invertebrates, such as crustaceans and insects. Adults 
are opportunistic feeders talcing whatever they can kill, ranging from snails 
to small deer and pigs (Magnusson, 1982; Maness, 1982; Gorzula, 1978). A 
majority of all food items found in the stomach contents of caimans caught 
during the wet season in Bolivar State, Venezuela was frogs, especially Bufo 
granulosus and Pleurodema brachyops (Gorzula, 1978). There seemed to be 
little feeding during the dry season (Gorzula, 1978). Anurans have been 
reported in the diet from Venezuela, armoured catfish as the main food Item in 
Guarico state, whilst the aquatic snail Pomacea ursus and crabs are most 
frequently taken in Apure state (Gorzula, 1978). Adult C. crocodllus fuscus 
feed on snails, crustaceans and fish (Alvarez del Toro, 1974; Brazaitis, 1973; 
Medem, 1973). C. crocodllus yacare: snails, crabs (Brazaitis, P., cited in 
Groombridge, 1982) and fish (Fitch and Nadeau, 1980) are major food items; 
rodents, snakes and turtles are also consumed (Fitch and Nadeau, 1979; 
Crawshaw and Schaller, 1980). In Corrientes a principal prey is Serrasalmus 
spllopleura, a species of pirana. This species has increased rapidly in the 
last decade in Corrientes, possibly as a result of the decrease in Yacare, and 
is reportedly preying heavily on the offspring of other species including game 
fish (Fitch and Nadeau, 1980). Where Yacare have been eliminated, the 
incidence of schistosomiasis among cattle has risen sharply, possibly in 
proportion to an increase in abundance of snails (an intermediate host for the 
parasite causing schistosomiasis) upon which Yacare feed (Medem, 1973). 

In the case of C. crocodllus crocodllus copulation usually takes place near 
the end of the dry season, with nesting from mid-August to early November. In 
the Venezuelan Llanos courtship and breeding was observed from May-August 
during the early wet season, with nesting beginning in August, and reaching a 
peak in September. Nesting strategies are related to rainfall patterns and 
vary depending on local conditions. Mound nests, constructed of vegetable 
materials, average 117 cm length, 104.5 cm width and 44.5 cm height (Stanton 
and Dixon, 1977). 14-40 eggs are laid and hatch in 70 to 90 days, at nest 
temperatures of 28* to 32'C. In areas where hunting activity has not altered 
behaviour the female defends the nest very actively (Groombridge, 1982). Eggs 
vary from spherical to elliptical, average size 63.8 mm x 40.7 mm average 
weight 59.9 g. The major egg predator in the Venezuelan Llanos is the lizard 
Tuplnambls sp. (Stanton and Dixon, 1977). In Venezuelan Guayana young 
caimans remained together for around 18 months (Gorzula, 1978). 

Research involving C. crocodllus fuscus in Colombia showed that breeding 
takes place all year, but usually from January to March. In Chiapas, nesting 
is reported to occur between April and September (Flores Vlllela, 1980). 
Fifteen to 30 eggs are laid in a mound nest, constructed by the female from 
organic debris. Nests are usually within 30 m of water, but they have been 
recorded up to 200 m away. A well developed pattern of maternal care has been 
reported from observations made in Mexico. Hatching takes place in 75-80 days 
(Alvarez del Toro, 1974). 

In Brazil nesting of C. crocodllus yacare takes place during the rainy 
season between December and April. Eggs are laid in a mound nest of organic 
material, constructed by the female. Average nest size in Brazil was 134 x 
117 cm, and 40.5 cm high. Eggs are elliptical, white, hard-shelled and 
rugose; around 68 x 43 mm, weighing around 73 g. Average egg size varies 
considerably between clutches (Crawshaw and Schaller, 1980). Average clutch 
size in Brazil is 31 (range 21-38), in Bolivia 33.6 (23-41) (Groombridge, 
1982). The peak of hatching is in March. During incubation, the female 
visits the nest at intervals, usually at night. Nests are often abandoned 
when disturbed by man. At hatching time the female opens the nest, allowing 



54 



Caiman crocodllus 

the hatchlings to escape, there is some evidence that she may crack, open the 
eggs to ensure a simultaneous hatch. It is not Icnown how long the female 
guards hatchlings after they enter the water (Crawshaw and Schaller, 1980). 
Major egg predators at Pacon^, Brazil include the Coati Nasua nasua and the 
Crab-eating Fox Cerdocyon thous , with local reports of predation by tegu 
lizard Tuplnambls sp. and Capuchin Monkey Cebus apella (Crawshaw and 
Schaller, 1980). 

The production of excrement by large populations of caimans may form an 
important input of nutrients in certain otherwise nutrient-poor aquatic 
ecosystems. The decline in caiman populations in certain mouth lakes of the 
central Amazon region has been followed by diminished fish populations, 
attributed to a decline in the invertebrate prey of young fishes (Fittkau, 
1970; Glastra, 1983). 

Caiman crocodllus crocodllus is highly adaptable, and is quick to 
re-establish itself in habitat vacated by Melanosuchus nlger and Crocodylus 
Intermedlus . This may account for the temporary increase in some populations 
as Melanosuchus becomes extinct. The species has in fact established itself 
in man-made ditches and canals in parts of Florida, USA, and in newly-formed 
artificial lakes behind the Transamazon Highway in Brazil (Magnusson, 1982). 
In studies carried out at Lago Amana (an effluent of the Rio Japura) and the 
Parque Nacional da Amazonia, numbers appeared to be limited by habitat 
preference rather than disturbance by man, despite heavy hunting pressure. 

The distribution of C. crocodllus fuscus overlaps that of Crocodylus 
acutus and Crocodylus morelecll, but C. crocodllus fuscus is only 
sympatric with C. acutus. C. crocodllus yacare occurs in sympatry with 
Melanosuchus nlger, when it retreats to smaller creeks and streams to avoid 
the larger species, and with Caiman latlrostrls in the south. It appears to 
be capable of out-competing C. latlrostrls for available habitat (Crawshaw 
and Schaller, 1980). However, this may be the result of selective hunting for 
C. latlrostrls, with the consequent expansion of C. crocodllus yacare into 
the vacant niche (Fitch and Nadeau, 1980). Yacare are migratory and may 
travel overland for considerable distances while moving from stream to stream. 

THREATS TO SURVIVAL Legal and illegal hide hunting and the lack of adequate 
enforcement to control smuggling, are the major factors contributing to the 
pressures placed upon the species (Fitch and Nadeau, 1980; Medem, 1971; Medem, 
1973). Although the belly skin of C. crocodllus contains well-developed 
osteoderms (Hunt, 1969), renewed hunting pressures are being applied to the 
species as the more desirable hides of Melanosuchus nlger and true 
crocodiles become unavailable. It is reported that commercial interests, with 
the renewed legal trade in hides of some populations of Alligator 
mlsslsslpplensls, have rekindled the demand for crocodilian products in world 
fashion. The hide of C. crocodllus is an economically attractive product 
with which to meet this demand (Groombridge , 1982). 

C crocodllus yacare produces the most desirable and largest hide of all the 
caiman crocodllus group. Although Yacare does bear ventral osteoderms. 
these are not as extensive as in other Caiman crocodlllus. Flank hides are 
comparable in size and near in quality to the Black Caiman Melanosuchus 
nlger. Thus, shoes made from Yacare may retail at prices nearly equal to M. 
nlger, are made of more readily available hides, and are cheaper to purchase 
raw. Profits for those items become greater, and commercial demand is 
therefore great. It is difficult for law enforcement agents to distinguish 



55 



Caiman crocodllus 

small products made from Yacare hide from those made from of other members of 
the genus Caiman (Brazaltls, P., cited in Groombridge, 1982). 

It is possible that C. crocodiJus crocodllus may not be greatly affected by 
low levels of hunting because of its small size at sexual maturity (130 cm). 
Hunters usually select animals longer than 110 cm, and as the hunting is 
seasonal, many females can reach breeding size before they are subject to 
hunting pressure. C. crocodllus is therefore thought to be able to withstand 
low levels of exploitation better than larger species, such as M. nlger, 
which is taken at a size much smaller than that at which it is likely to 
breed. However one other aspect of the trade in C. crocodllus skins is that 
it is usually accompanied by a small trade in the skins of M. nlger. This 
this enables populations of M. nlger to be exploited at levels below those 
which would be commercially viable in isolation, and could cause the 
extinction of M. nlger (Magnusson, 1982; Rebelo and Magnusson, 1983). 

Conversion of habitat for agricultural purposes has caused a decline in some 

regions, such as the rice fields in Guyana. Consumption of the meat on a 

non-commercial basis by local people is not an important threat at present 
(Medem, 1971; 1973; 1980). 

Argentina An estimated 20 000 caimans, largely Yacare, are taken annually 
from Corrientes (Fitch and Nadeau, 1979). Hunting is usually carried out at 
night, either with baited hooks, or with rifles and harpoons. Many of the 
larger ranchers are conservationists, and will not allow hunters on their 
land, but the surrounding smaller farms often provide a means of access (Fitch 
and Nadeau, 1980). In Corrientes much former habitat has been lost to 
agriculture or ranching. In areas where C. crocodllus co-exists with 
C. latlrostrls the severe depletion of the latter species by selective 
hunting seems to have benefited C. crocodllus (Fitch and Nadeau, 1980). 

Bolivia Bolivia is the main tanning country in South America and skins are 
imported from surrounding countries for processing before being re-exported 
(Groombridge, 1982). From January 1st to August 31st 1976, 124 114 Yacare 
hides were exported (Medem, undated). Although Bolivian protective laws are 
now more strongly enforced the hide industry remains powerful. Large numbers 
of hides are taken from Brazil and Paraguay and are then tanned and exported 
from Bolivia (Medem, 1973). Most skins of a shipment of 300 000 caiman hides 
from Bolivia intercepted in Florida are thought to have originated in the 
Pantanal region of south-west Brazil (Groombridge, 1982). 

Brazil Hunting has been illegal since 1967, and although some still occurs, 
there is evidence that populations of C. crocodllus have recovered. There is 
no direct trade in crocodilian skins through major Brazilian ports. However 
because of the size, and remoteness of much of the Amazon basin within Brazil 
it is very difficult to enforce the law and hundreds of thousands of 
crocodilian skins are transported annually across remote parts of the Colombia 
border (Magnusson, 1980). An analysis of reptile skins confiscated in Amazonia 
by the Instituto Brasiliero de Desenvolvimento Florestal (IBOF) showed that 
the great majority were of C. crocodllus . The size distribution of skins 
showed that hunters had apparently selected animals longer than 110 cm 
(Magnusson, 1982; Rebelo and Magnusson, 1983). 

There is still considerable illicit hunting of C. crocodllus yacare in the 
Pantanal, organised on a large scale. The skins are mostly smuggled over the 
border in light aircraft to Bolivia and Paraguay, where they are often 
bartered for cocaine. In August 1983 a major law enforcement operation was 
carried out by the wildlife authorities supported by military personnel and 



56 



Caiman czocodllus 

equipment. Many poachers were arrested, and 1800 Yacare skins were 
confiscated, although this is a tiny percentage of the annual illegal harvest. 
Each slcin is worth US$l-4 to the hunter, who may collect up to 100 in a night, 
providing an income considerably in excess of the minimum monthly wage of 
US$70. The penalties for poaching are low; many of the poachers arrested were 
released, and the excercise has had little effect in controlling the trade 
(Hyman, 1985). The poachers are often better equipped than the law enforcement 
officers, and new road construction will make access possible all year round. 
There was reported to be pressure to allow a legal harvest in 1986, but no 
management programme had been formulated, and it was hoped that the plan would 
not receive approval. The poaching in the Pantanal was considered to be 
largely driven by overseas demand for caiman skin, particularly from France, 
F.R. Germany, Itlay and the USA (Brazaitis, 1985). 

Colombia Although the export of caiman skins under 1.5 m has been 
prohibited in Colombia since 1973, a trade in this species continues. In 
1974, 556 422 C. crocodllus were exported, 841t under the minimum legal 
length (Smith, 1980). Leticia, in the Colombia Amazon, is a major outlet 
(Medem, 1973; Smith, 1980). Many skins come from individuals killed in Peru 
and Brazil and smuggled over the border. The minimum legal size restrictions 
are not enforced (Smith, 1980). Along the Caribbean coast between Ci6naga 
Grande and the Magdalena River illegal hunting is common, also on the lower 
and middle Magdalena. Almost all hides are of hatchlings or juveniles (Medem, 
1980) . Some refuge is found in lagoons along the lower and middle Magdalena 
Valley, where aquatic vegetation has become more extensive with the decline of 
manatees (Medem, 1980). Additionally, hatchlings are killed in large numbers 
and are preserved as curios for sale to tourists. For many years, 
C. crocodllus hatchlings from Colombia and Ecuador had provided crocodilian 
pets for the world pet trade. It is estimated that legal export figures 
reflect about one half of the true number of hides exported from Colombia and 
Peru, a large number of those animals killed spoil before reaching the 
tanneries. In many instances, the animal is killed for its flanks only, the 
remainder of the body left to waste (Groombridge , 1982). Marked habitat 
destruction has occurred in Colombia including the officially protected 
mangroves of the Isla de Salamanca National Park (Medem, 1980). 

Costa Rica There is said to be illegal exploitation for skins in Costa Rica 
(Mena Moya, 1978) . 



Ecuador For many years, hunters and traders have been taking skins 
illegally over the border into Peru and Bolivia; however, recently, the border 
controls have been improved and the trade has declined. There is some 
traditional use of caiman products for medicinal purposes (Asanza, 1984). Oil 
developments have opened up new towns in Amazonia, and new roads have been 
built, with accompanying deforestation. There are reports of increasing 
pollution of the waterways by the uncontrolled dumping of oil/water mixtures 
(Asanza, 1984). 

Honduras Hunting of C. crocodllus is illegal in Honduras unless the 
hunter operates a farm, and has achieved growth and breeding. No farms were 
functioning in 1985 (Honduras CITES MA, 1985). 

Mexico Caimans are much persecuted in Chiapas, primarily for the skin 
trade. They are protected under legislation which sets closed seasons and a 
minimum size of 1.5 m, but in general the laws are not well enforced and they 
are considered as a free resource. There are several skin companies which 
exploit C. crocodllus fuscus: one company was reported to process 1000 skins 
a month. Dried juvenile specimens are also often sold as curios. In 1970, 



57 



Caiman ctocodllus 

small ones (60 cm) sold for PsSO, and larger ones (120 cm) for PslSO. In 1980, 
corresponding prices were Ps300 and PsSOO in San Cristobal las Casas, or PslSO 
and Ps200 in Tuxtla Gutierrez (Flores Villela, 1980). 

Panama Trade in wildlife in Panama has been giving cause for concern since 
at least 1978, when "caiman skins" were amongst the species being traded. At 
that time there were ten companies involved in the import, export and 
re-export of wildlife products. Legislation did not control the shipment of 
goods in transit through Panama, and companies were said to import animals 
from overseas without adequate documentation, and then to re-export them. 
Occasionally additional animals, caught within Panama, would be included in 
the re-export consignment without being declared (Vallester, 1978). 
Currently, the major threat is more from persecution by people who think that 
caimans are dangerous. Hunting for skins is very much less important (Panama 
CITES MA, 1985) . 

Paraguay Many hides have been exported by Paraguay to France, F.R. Germany 
and the United States despite national protective legislation. Paraguayan 
authorities claim that the export documents are forgeries (Groombrldge, 1982). 
Paraguay provides an important staging post for skins brought illegally out of 
Brazil. Figures collected by the Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganaderia showed 
that around 1000 skins of C. crocodllus were exported in 1984 (Acevedo 
Gomez, 1987). 

Peru A total of 101 641 C. crocodllus hides were exported from Peru from 
1962 to 1967 (Smith, 1980). 

Surinaine Large-scale hide-hunting was reported in two consecutive dry 
seasons around November 1978 and 1979 in the Coesewijne Swamp area. This 
resulted in the loss of 1500-2000 caiman. Although the species is not legally 
protected in Suriname, conservation organisations launched a press campaign to 
stop the hunting, and, in 1980, none was reported (Glastra, 1983). 

Trinidad and Tobago Abundant in parts of Trinidad, but illegally hunted on 
a limited scale. The population in Tobago is not subject to hide hunting 
(Medem, 1973). 

Venezuela Crocodilians have traditionally been exploited by indigenous 
peoples in Venezuela for food, medicinal and religious purposes, but these 
uses probably had a negligible effect on the populations (Maness, 1982). 
Commercial hide-hunting caused the systematic degradation of caiman 
populations to such an extent that the species was declared totally protected 
in 1973. Over the next 20 years the populations built up until renewed 
exploitation was not only thought feasible, but was demanded by fanners to 
allow the control of the growing numbers of caiman. A proposed harvesting 
programme was discussed at length at a meeting of the lUCN/SSC Crocodile 
Specialist Group which was held in Caracas in 1983, and received provisional 
approval for a trial period. In 1982/83 MARNR conducted a survey of 56 
ranches, and recommended a harvest of 70 000 caiman, being 7-lOX of the 
estimated population. Hunting was only allowed on private ranches In three 
states, between 1 January and 30 April, and size limits of 1.5 m to 1.7 m 
snout-tail length were imposed. Export of raw hides was prohibited, and 5-6 
tanneries were operating in the country to provide tanned skins for export 
(Quero de Pena, 1986). After the harvest had been permitted for two seasons, 
it was suspended by a Ministerial Resolution In October 1985. This was 
reportedly due to abuse and mismanagement in Issuing hunting tags. Tags were 
Issued in excess of the quotas set, and hunters were reported to have taken 
additional skins to make up for those spoiled by Improper preservation 



58 



Caiman crocodllus 

(Gorzula, 1985). There is known to be a small amount of illegal hunting taking 
place, particularly in the Orinoco Delta, whence skins have been smuggled to 
Trinidad and Guyana. Indigenous peoples also hunt alligatorids for 
subsistence: in the Amazon Territory they accounted for 301 by weight of the 
wild animal meat consumed by the Ye'kwana Indians in one 7-month study. Over 
the same period the comparable proportion for the Yanomamo Indians was only 
2\. A figure of 2.51 was quoted for the 350 Pemon Indians in Kstado Bolivar. 
There is very little commercial use of caiman meat, and none was seen being 
sold in markets or restaurants, although the Criollo people in the Guyanan 
region are known to eat them occasionally (Gorzula and Paolillo, 1986). Caiman 
hunting in the Llanos is so easy that populations can be quickly eliminated 
from many areas. 

The populations of caimans in the north-west of Venezuela probably escaped the 
worst of the effects of the over-hunting which afflicted the remainder of the 
country in the 1950s and 1960s; one exception was that in the Haracaibo basin, 
which probably supported a large industry (Seijas, 1986). There has been no 
legal hunting of C. crocodllus fuscus in Venezuela since the ban was imposed 
in 1973. When hunting of the other subspecies was temporarily re-started in 
1984 in the Llanos, no licences were granted for the north-western states in 
which C. crocodllus fuscus occurs (Quero de Pena, 1984). Some illegal 
hunting is known to occur, and official figures show that 616 caiman skins 
were confiscated in the Maracaibo region in 1982 (Seijas, 1986). 

In very dry years populations in savannas may be reduced by as much as BOX 
because of mortality in small individuals. However, populations seem able to 
recuperate (Gorzula, cited by Groombridge, 1982). Many of man's impacts on 
the environment, in particular, the creation of reservoirs, and the digging of 
drainage ditches, seem to be mainly beneficial to C. crocodllus (Gorzula and 
Paolillo, 1986; Seijas, 1986). The region in which C. crocodllus fuscus 
occurs in Venezuela is the most heavily affected by urban and industrial 
development, the Haracaibo basin being the main oil-producing area. Some of 
the effects may be deleterious to caimans, but other impacts, in particular, 
the creation of reservoirs, and the digging of drainage ditches, seem to be 
mainly beneficial to C. crocodllus. The species also appears to have 
benefited from the removal of competition from Crocodylus acutus , whose 
populations have decreased (Seijas, 1986). 

IMTKRNATIOKAL TRADE Caiman crocodllus is the second most commonly 
exported species of reptile in South America, after Tuplnambls. Caiman skin 
is traditionally considered inferior to classic crocodile skin, and levels of 
exploitation only rose after the supplies of the more valuable crocodilians 
became depleted. However its popularity is increasing, partially owing to 
improved tanning procedures, and it was reported to be replacing crocodile in 
the high-quality handbag and shoe market in the USA in 1985. Caiman products 
commanded the same prices as crocodile ones, wallets selling for US$60-180, 
shoes for US$475-600, and handbags from US$375 to over US$1000. Most of the 
caiman skin is C. crocodllus yacare. Artificial embossed crocodile leather 
was reported to be improving in quality, and fetching similar prices to the 
real item. This was thought to be associated with a rise in price of real 
skin, in turn dependent partially on its decreasing availability (Brazaitis, 
1985). Caiman sides were reported to be worth about US$60 each in the USA 
(Hyman, 1985). French and Italian reptile leather dealers report falling 
demand for reptile skin products. Most of the C. crocodllus fuscus products 
available in Italy range from 17 cm to 35 cm belly width (Bodiopelli, In 
lltt. , 4 March 1986). 



59 



Caiman crocodllus 

Small numbers of live animals are traded, mainly as pets, but the quantities 
are Inslsnif leant in comparison with the skin trade. 

There have been several reports published recently detailing the international 
trade in caiman skins (Anon., 1984; Hemley and Caldwell, 1986), using CITES 
and Customs statistics as sources of data. It is impossible to arrive at an 
accurate estimate of even the legal trade in caiman skin from CITES reports, 
because of the widely varying methods of reporting transactions. Most caiman 
hide Is shipped as sides or flanks, as this is usually the only part to be 
used, but there are also some whole skins in trade. CITES reports contain 
reference to both skins and sides, but there is good evidence that the terms 
are used Interchangably ; sometimes it is possible to see that the importer has 
reported sides and the exporter skins for what is obviously the same 
transaction. Confusion is Increased, as the quantity may be reported by 
number, weight, length or area; and finally the taxon may be described to 
species or subspecies level. There are thus at least 16 ways in which any 
shipment can be reported without giving any false information. Added to which, 
it often suits the unscrupulous trader to falsify the subspecies, either to 
conceal the true country of origin of the skins, or else to circumvent 
protective legislation, such as the USA Endangered Species Act. These factors 
all compound to make the analysis of CITES statistics difficult and 
potentially inaccurate. This should be borne in mind when considering the 
analysis presented in the following tables, but it is thought that they do 
give an indication of the order of magnitude of the trade. The CITES reports 
are summarised in Tables 1 and 2. As explained in the introduction, the 
analysis Involves many potential systematic errors, but with caimans there is 
an additional error involving double reporting, where Imports and exports were 
reported in different units, or where the terms "skins" and "sides" were 
confused. The actual trade may therefore be lower than the totals reflected 
in the tables. 

Table la contains an analysis of the minimum net trade in skins and sides of 
all subspecies of C. crocodllus , including those reported as "Caiman spp." 
The total volume has fluctuated around a value of about three-quarters of a 
million. It peaked in 1985, at just over a million skins. The totals for 1980 
to 1982 are all higher than those reported by Hemley and Caldwell (1986) 
partially owing to different analysis techniques and partially because more 
data have subsequently been added. However they are not unreallstically high, 
as it has been estimated that the number of caiman skins taken annually in 
southern Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay exceeds one million (Hemley and 
Caldwell, 1986). The major net importing countries are the USA, Italy, F.R. 
Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Japan. Japan had high 
gross imports in all years but also re-exported large quantities, with the 
result that it often appeared as a net exporter. 

The composition of reported trade in different subspecies is shown in Table 
lb. C. crocodllus crocodllus was traded in the largest numbers in all years 
except 1982 and 1983, when C. crocodllus yacare took precedence. 
C. crocodllus fuscus was mostly traded in low volumes except in 1980, 1984 
and 1985, when figures of over 200 000 were reported, exceeding half a million 
in 1985. The relative numbers of the subspecies takes on greater importance 
when the countries of origin are considered. 

The declared sources of the skins of C. crocodllus crocodllus are shown in 
Table 2a. Bolivia has been included under countries without wild populations 
as, although It may have a few of this subspecies in the north, it is not 
thought to have an exploitable population. Up to 1984, the main declared 
sources were Bolivia, Paraguay, Colombia and Panama, only one of which. 



60 



Caiman crocodllus 

Colombia, can be correct. Only about 10-201 of the declared trade has been 
from countries having this subspecies in the wild. The apparent exports from 
Bolivia are comparable with the figures quoted by Hemley and Caldwell (1986) 
obtained from the Bolivian wildlife authority, which give exports of 85 551, 
62 155 and 29 823 for 1982, 1983 and the first six months of 1984, 
respectively. It is thought that a large number of skins of C. crocodllus 
yacare are reported as C. crocodllus crocodllus. This subterfuge has been 
used to import skins to the USA, where the Yacare is protected by the 
Endangered Species Act, and some successful prosecutions have been brought 
against skin dealers (Brazaitis, in press). In 1984 and 1985, Guyana and 
Venezuela emerged as the major sources, the skins from the latter country 
coming from a newly introduced management programme. 

The declared sources of the skins of C. crocodllus fuscus are shown in Table 
2b. The majority apparently came from Colombia and Panama, although Honduras 
and El Salvador emerged as significant sources in 1984 and Guatemala appeared 
to export around 347 700 in 1985. All these countries do have wild populations 
of this subspecies but these levels of offtake seem excessive. In the case of 
Guatemala the total is over twenty times the estimated wild population, and 
the skins probably originated in other countries and were re-exported. Panama 
is known to be a major entrepot for wildlife trade originating in South 
America (Vallester, 1978). 

The declared sources of the skins of C. crocodllus yacare are shown in Table 
2c. The major sources were Paraguay and Argentina, although Panama and 
Colombia had significant exports in 1982 and 1984, and these, if correctly 
identified, must represent re-exports. The Yacare thus presents a different 
picture to the other subspecies: most of the skins are reported to come from 
possible source countries, and the reported levels of exploitation are not 
grossly inflated compared with probable wild population sizes. This does not 
imply that the Yacare is not being over-exploited, but merely that there is no 
incentive to falsify the reported countries of origin for skins declared as 
being C. crocodllus yacare. The total volume of trade in skins of this 
subspecies is probably far higher, as many of the skins are thought to have 
been incorrectly recorded as C. crocodllus crocodllus . 

Two outstanding features of the trade in C. crocodllus are its size and the 
fact that the great majority of it is illegal. Since 1980, the only legal 
sources of skins in South America have been Venezuela (from 1983 to 1985), 
Colombia (only stocks held by two companies, prior to 1984), Bolivia (only 
C. crocodllus yacare, prior to 1985) and the Guianas. Small amounts of trade 
in C. crocodllus fuscus from Central America and Colombia may also be legal. 
The only mainland countries currently permitting commercial exports are El 
Salvador and the Guianas. Ignoring the illegal and undeclared trade, less than 
20X of the declared trade in C. crocodllus up to 1984 was even potentially 
legal. Questions of whether the limits on trade set by the producing countries 
are within sustainable levels are therefore irrelevant, as the existing 
legislation was obviously being flouted by importers and exporters alike. In 
1985, there have been some improvements, with a greater percentage of the 
trade apparently coming from the legal harvest in Venezuela, but some of the 
newly emerging trade routes, in particular Guatemala, Guyana and El Salvador, 
together with the continuing exports from Bolivia, Paraguay and Panama, give 
cause for concern. 



61 



Caiman crocodllus 

Table la. Minimum net commercial imports of skins and sides of all subspecies 
of Caiman crocodllus reported to CITES (2 sides = 1 skin). 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



198S 



Albania 

Argentina 

Australia 

Austria 



Belgium 

Canada 

China 

Costa Rica 
Demark 

Egypt 

Finland 
France 

Germany DR 
Germany FR 



Greece 
Hong Kong 



Ireland 
Italy 



Japan 



37029 



1550 



5004 
75 m^ 



141 



232 

94290 



211451 



197 m^ 



4158 
356 m^ 



358041 



36325 



Kuwait 


- 


Lebanon 


142 


Luxembourg 


12 


Malaysia 


- 


Mexico 


96 


Monaco 


16 


Morocco 


- 


Netherlands 


18 


N. Antilles 


- 


New Zealand 


- 


Portugal 


210 



200 



47089 
167 m2 

1488 
1316 



58 

681 

248900 
769 m^ 
20460 kg 



46074 
112 m2 
196 kg 
326 m 



6292 
664 m^ 



134 kg 1354 kg 



173868 
2269 m^ 
16723 kg 



36567 
72 m^ 
6 kg 
32 m 
441 

5 m2 
685 



4000 

1228 

200 
1111 

110 m2 
1934 m 



128299 



93 m 



15665 

630 m^ 

353 kg 

4 

322325 

987 ro2 

8217 kg 

127 kg 

30 
10 



4103 
972 

628 m2 
20927 
355 m^ 



156 

651 
172 m^ 



22 

2101 
115 

1042 m2 

2427 
146 m^ 
185024 
788 m^ 

20 

13242 
3011 m^ 
70 m 

305087 



6360 kg 
61884 
131518 kg 

961 
2 

1 kg 



367 



37534 
562 m^ 



4067 
346 m^ 



328336 
2604 m^ 



417 m^ 



35240 
557 8(2 
3 m 

2955 

8329 

342 in^ 

9 m^ 

244 m 



117 
137569 

41 m^ 



14005 
19 m^ 



785 385 

23 m 
34356 10547 

538 m^ 1429 m^ 



5 

446 



27 

60 



151315 

423 kg 
153 m 
123846 kg 

18 

27 

122 



15000 

2965 

12 



513803 
2713 m^ 
646 kg 
94268 
65797 kg 



86 



3 m^ 



62 



Table la continued. 



Caiman crocodllus 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Qatar 














12 










Singapore 


- 




12382 




- 




1345 




- 




- 




_ 




25 


1C6 


88 


kg 


344 


m2 


- 




- 


S. Arabia 


- 




- 




1343 




41 




4 




27 


S. Africa 


3446 




5471 




6707 




5274 




3690 




1039 




- 




5 


n.2 


- 




- 




- 




276 k.g 


S. Korea 


_ 




- 




_ 




2997 




1788 




1243 




_ 




_ 




- 




154 


n.2 


87 


n.2 


241 ro^ 


Spain 


- 




9383 




8470 




4727 




7658 




1302 


Sweden 


1132 




76 




- 




23 




- 




- 


Switzerland 


58868 




123112 




93610 




47835 




104173 




103870 




2 


m2 


43 


m2 


6970 


m2 


1386 


m^ 


40 


n.2 


- 




- 




- 




- 




- 




1 


m 


- 


Syria 


_ 




- 




- 




- 




32 




389 m^ 


Taiwan 


_ 




- 




- 




45 




- 




Thailand 


- 




- 




- 




26 




- 




- 


Turkey 


- 




- 




- 




30 




251 




13 


UK 


_ 




919 




- 




2562 




- 




3491 




188 


m2 


_ 




1022 


m2 


6 


m2 


- 




511 m^ 




_ 




_ 




- 




48 


m 


- 




- 


USA 


26A15 




87102 




53005 




71901 




10071 




129643 




_ 




5 


H,2 


_ 




378 


m2 


- 




19 m^ 




5283 


m 


3514 


m 


1226 


m 


15 


in 


460 


m 


20 m 


Uruguay 


_ 




28 


kg 


- 




- 




50 




- 




_ 




_ 




- 




- 




5 


m2 


- 


Yugoslavia 


3629 




- 




54 




- 




20 




46 


Unknown 


9 




- 




962 




- 




238 




- 


TOTAL 


842214 




764871 




674803 




734849 




702512 




1057978 
6270 m^ 




818 


m2 


4034 


m? 


9799 


m? 


8410 


m2 


4622 


m^ 




5283 


m 


3840 


m 


3285 


m 


133 


m 


636 


m 


267 «n 




134 


kg 


38786 


H 


8791 


lc6 


137879 


H 


124269 


H 


66719 kg 



63 



CAlman crocodllus 

Table lb Minimum net trade in skins and sides of three subspecies of 
C. crocodllus (2 sides = 1 skin). 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



C . c . ctocodl 1 us 

555492 



546189 



209889 



297372 



436988 



649730 



630 m-^ 3224 m^ 2066 m^ 6976 m^ 2428 m^ 6267 m^ 
5283 m 3514 m - 363 m 613 m 229 m 
134 kg 25429 kg 4793 kg 13168 kg 120981 kg 56065 kg 



C . c . fuscus 



277016 181738 98444 69609 206182 552202 

18 m^ 125 m^ 423 kg 10654 kg 
326 m 93 m - 23 m 264 m 



yacare 



19320 



138358 
108 m^ 



385307 



401 m^ 
11085 kg 3785 kg 



392826 
601 m^ 
6052 kg 



89032 
2086 m^ 
1432 m 



32703 
3 m 



Table 2a Reported countries of origin or export for commercial exports of 
skins and sides of C. crocodllus crocodllus reported to CITES (2 sides = 1 
skin). 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Countries with wild or farmed populations of C. crocodllus crocodllus 



Brazil 


- 


- 




- 




- 




835 




- 


Colombia 


104495 


71414 




35254 




132809 




144127 




78166 




_ 


155 


m^ 


111 


m'^ 


1488 


m^ 


1466 


m^ 


1832 m2 




- 


1363 


kg 


4231 


kg 


- 




1550 


kK 


922 kg 


F. Guiana 


6307 


8804 




1230 




3793 




945 




1379 




276 m^ 


83 


kg 


116 


m^ 


85 


m^ 


- 




- 




103 kg 


- 




88 


kg 


- 




- 




- 


Guyana 


- 


12 




325 




90 




77191 




121340 




- 


108 


H 


- 




- 




- 




- 


Peru 


93 m^ 


3000 




6201 




2 




- 




- 




- 


- 




102 


m^ 


186 


m^ 


- 




- 


Suriname 


- 


- 




- 




39 




- 




- 


Taiwan 


- 


- 




- 




- 




152 


m 


- 


Venezuela 


44554 


_ 




_ 




800 




3226 




270424 


















455 


m 


3981 ft? 



64 



Caiman crocodllus 



Table 2a continued 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Countries wit^ 


lOut wild populations 


of C. crocodllus crocodllus 








Argentina 


4659 




10516 




_ 




« 




1568 




_ 






- 




75 


m2 


- 




- 




- 




- 




Bolivia 


164666 




106530 




102067 




62574 




31326 




162733 






139 


m2 


2313 


m2 


1223 


m2 


772 


m2 


- 




367 


m2 




31 


H 


21634 


H 


533 


kg 


560 


kg 


- 




6626 


kg 




- 




- 




- 




48 


m 


- 




- 




Canada 


4 




3 




4 




1 




- 




- 




El Salvador 


- 




- 




- 




- 




5253 




15042 




France 


26206 




46645 




4413 




28 




- 




- 






75 


m? 


- 




- 




- 




- 




- 




Germany, F.R. 


6958 


m2 


7305 




31 




- 




- 




- 






2 


- 




- 




- 




- 




- 




Haiti 


4747 




- 




- 




55 




175 




- 




Indonesia 


625 




298 




- 




52 


m? 


- 




- 




Italy 


13022 




19905 




- 




300 




- 




- 




Japan 


- 




- 




- 




- 




- 




1940 




Madagascar 


8 




- 




- 




- 




- 




- 




Netherlands 


498 




- 




- 




- 




- 




- 




N. Antilles 


1 




719 


H 


450 




4 




- 




- 




Nicaragua 


- 




- 




- 




- 




1 




— 




Panama 


59161 




7246 




7063 




34582 




88 




- 






_ 




_ 




- 




4750 


kB 


2085 


kB 


- 




Paraguay 


239498 




379619 




56319 




49808 




169609 




7424 


m? 




_ 




962 


m2 


130 


m2 


108 


m? 


95 


11.2 


91 




_ 




14 


m 


- 




230 


m 


1 


m 


- 






- 




2910 


ICE 


- 




123444 


ke 


114374 


kg 


48389 


k-B 


Singapore 


- 




12 




- 




- 




- 




- 




S. Africa 


- 




- 




- 




- 




28 




- 




Switzerland 


_ 




89 




- 




- 




1076 




- 




UK 


88 




1262 




412 




5151 




- 




154 






2 


m? 


- 




- 




- 




- 




- 






21 


m 


- 




- 




- 




- 




- 




USA 


8948 




_ 




1 




3200 




- 




- 






_ 




_ 




47 


m? 


- 




- 




- 




Unknown 


66270 




39796 




16456 




59966 




6307 




288366 






46 


m2 


106 


m2 


411 


n.2 


4298 


n.2 


873 


n.2 


231 


m 




5263 


m 


3500 


m 


- 




85 


m 


- 




- 






- 




- 




- 




3195 


kg 


2972 


kg 


' 





65 



Caiman crocodllus 

Table 2b. Reported countries of origin or export for commercial exports of 
skins and sides of C. crocodllus fuscus reported to CITES (2 sides = 1 skin). 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Countries wi 


th wild or 


farmed populations of C. 


crocodllus 


fuscus 








Colombia 


161170 


45968 19788 


38253 




8958 




8746 




Costa Rica 


_ 


_ _ 


12 




_ 




- 




El Salvador 


_ 


- - 


2479 




79389 




121835 






- 


- - 


- 




423 


k6 


10654 


ItB 


Guatemala 


- 


- - 


- 




_ 




347700 




Honduras 


- 


- - 


- 




55484 




36524 




Mexico 


- 


- 


- 




1 




- 




Nicaragua 


- 


- 


- 




- 




264 


m 


Panama 


176150 


130905 88985 


59646 




10062 




23845 






- 


_ - 


_ 




23 


m 


_ 




Countries wi 


thout wild 


or farmed populations of 


C. crocodllus fuscus 






Argentina 


100 


- 


435 




- 




- 




Bolivia 


1A88 


4 


195 


m? 


_ 




- 




France 


- 


- 


- 




- 




4135 




Fr. Guiana 


- 


19 m^ 


- 




- 




_ 




Germany, F.R 


- 


- 


6 


m? 


- 




— 




Haiti 


- 


3501 


- 




- 




- 




Indonesia 


- 


500 


_ 




_ 




— 




Italy 


3723 


1255 


- 




- 




_ 




Paraguay 


16135 


760 100 


962 




1090 




2976 




Spain 


- 


- 


_ 




- 




4 




S. Africa 


- 


- 


_ 




1 




— 




Thailand 


- 


- 


3 




_ 




_ 




USA 


- 


402 


- 




_ 




_ 




Unknown 


1584 


100 3086 


4665 




66747 




4 






- 


326 m 93 m 


- 




- 




20 


m 



Table 2c. Reported countries of origin or export for commercial exports of 
skins and sides of C. crocodllus yacare reported to CITES (2 sides = 1 skin). 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Countries with wild or 

Argentina 13073 

Bolivia 

Brazil 4 

Paraguay 4833 



Countries without wild 
Colombia 



farmed populations of C. crocodllus yacare 
36874 15585 7827 10861 
602 3919 



Ecuador 

France 

Fr. Guiana 

Italy 

Panama 

Unknown 



1678 



660 



721 



131094 333933 
112 m^ 379 m2 
11085 kg 3779 kg 
or farmed populations of 



1 
651 

8574 

4338 



416427 70926 

18 m2 2014 m^ 
6052 kg 2865 kg 
C. crocodllus yacare 



1234 



1328 



46316 

1492 

6 



kg 



3626 
23086 
620 m^ 



11208 



342 
3 
139 m2 



1200 



27747 
3 



3756 



32 
233 



66 



Caiman crocodllus 

COWSKgVATIOW HEASURKS The legal protection status of C. crocodllus is 
sunnnarised in Table 3. A discussion of the legislation is given below as it is 
so complicated in many countries. Unless otherwise stated all information was 
from Fuller et al . (1987). 

It has been suggested (Brazaitis, cited in Groombridge, 1982) that C. 
crocodllus fuscus subspecies should be upgraded from Appendix II to Appendix 
I of CITES. However, this may be premature until studies have be made to 
determine the status of Venezuelan populations, as well as those in the 
various Central American countries. 

C. crocodllus yacare is specifically listed on the USA Endangered Species 
Act, which prevents the import of this taxon to the USA. 

A major requirement is to limit smuggling by proper enforcement of existing 
laws. It has been proposed by some that C. crocodllus yacare should be 
upgraded from Appendix II to Appendix I of CITES, at least until adequate 
studies have been completed, evaluating the status of populations and the 
effect of hunting on their reproductive potential. This proposal is not 
endorsed by all authorities. There appear to be good populations still in 
parts of Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay. Present uncertainty about the 
taxonomic status and distribution of Yacare, in particular in relation to the 
remainder of the 'Caiman crocodllus complex', should be resolved when the 
current research project has been completed. 

Argentina C. crocodllus yacare is designated as a protected species under 
Ley 22.A21, Art. 7, and is protected by a total ban on commercial hunting, 
import and export in Argentina. Although the implementing legislation was 
enacted in 1981, the ban did not become effective until 1983. The export of 
raw hides has been banned since 1976 (Resolucion No. 134). 

Bolivia Decreto Supremo No. 16605 (June 1979) prohibits the hunting and 
trade in species of native wildlife listed as protected, except that trade in 
captive-bred specimens is permitted. C. crocodllus is included in the 
protected list, however there is official disagreement over the validity of 
this decree, and it has largely been disregarded. A temporary ban on the 
export of live animals was imposed from May 1984 until August 1985, when it 
was extended to July 1986 and expanded to cover wildlife products as well. 
Decreto Supremo No. 21312 of June 27 1986 extended the ban on the export of 
all wildlife products for three years with the sole exception of an annual 
quota of 50 000 skins of C. crocodllus, all of which must be tanned before 
export . 

Brazil Complete protection is afforded the species in Brazil (Decreto 
Presidential No. 58.054, 23 Mar 1966; Decreto-Lei No. 289, Feb 1967). 

Colombia From 1982 until 1984, only inventoried stocks of hides were 
permitted (from 1983 onwards this included only two companies), but all 
further exports were banned from November 1984. Under Resolucion No. 847 
(August, 1973), hunting and trade of Caiman crocodllus is prohibited in the 
Orinoco basin, except for subsistence purposes, and is banned along the 
Atlantic coast from April to July. A minimum size limit of 1.5 m is in force. 
Only tanned skins were allowed to be exported (Resolucion No. 16, October 
1969), but even this has now been prohibited. 

Costa Rica Commercial trade and exports of non-marine wildlife has been 
prohibited since 1970. All hunting of endangered species (including 
C. crocodllus) was prohibited in 1985 (Decreto No. 15895-IV.G) . 



67 



Caiman czocodllus 

Ecuador No commercial exports of indigenous wildlife are permitted. 

El Salvador There are no protective laws for the species in El Salvador 
other than those resulting from membership of CITES. 

French Guiana C. crocodllus is listed under Article 3 of Arrets of 15 May 
1986, which prohibits their use, taxidermy, purchase or sale. Their transport 
is permitted only if they have been legally acquired outside the territory. 

Guatemala In response to queries from the CITES Secretariat about the large 
numbers of caiman skins exported early in 1985, a total prohibition on 
hunting, capture, local trade, export and re-export was imposed by Resolucion 
No. 410-86, 23 June, 1986. 

Guyana All exports were prohibited on 28 February 1987. The ban was lifted 
on 1 October 1987 and an export quota system was introduced. An annual export 
quota of 20 000 live C. c. crocodllus and 40 000 skins was proposed for 1987 
and 1988. 

Mexico Annual closed seasons are imposed for C. crocodllus, and there is 
a minimum size limit of 1.5 m (Flores Villela, 1980). Exports of live animals 
and parts and derivatives have been prohibited since 1982. 

Nicaragua Commercial hunting and export of wildlife has been prohibited 
since 1977 (Decreto No. 625), but non-commercial tourist exports of up to two 
objects made from C. crocodllus are permitted. The species is not listed as 
endangered, and hunting seasons may be restricted. 

Panama The capture, hunting, sale or export of endangered species 
(including C. crocodllus) has been prohibited since 1980 (Resolucion No. 
002-80). There are few regulations covering the Import and re-export of 
wildlife and their products. 

Paraguay All hunting, trade and exports of indigenous wildlife has been 
prohibited since 1975 (Decreto No. 18.796). There was confusion over whether 
the law still applied after the ratification of CITES in 1977 but it has now 
been confirmed, and no export permits have been Issued since 1982. 

Peru C. crocodllus only occurs in the Amazonian lowlands (Selva region), 
and under Decreto Supremo No. 934-73-AG (October 1973), no trade in species 
from this area is permitted, except for animals hunted for subsistence 
purposes. Caiman are not on the list of huntable species. 

Surlnane There are no protective laws for the species in Surlname. 

Trinidad and Tobago The species is protected in Trinidad (Ordinance No. 26, 
Page 13, 1958) . 

Venezuela C. crocodllus is listed as a game species in Venezuela, but 
exports were prohibited from 1974 until 1983. Experimental harvest quotas were 
set in 1983, but these were suspended in 1985 Exports were prohibited for one 
year by Resolucion No. 61, 23 October 1985. When this expired, a new quota 
system was introduced, the quota for 1987 being set at 150 000 animals. 
Hunting is only authorised in the states of Apure, Barinas, Cojedes and 
Portuguesa Region (Venezuela CITES MA, 1987). 



68 



Caiman crocodllus 

Table 3. Legal prohibition on the commercial hunting, internal trade and 
conmercial export of C. crocodllus. Dates are those on which the legislation 
came into force. A - All live animals & parts; L - Live animals only; 
S - Semi-finished or finished skins allowed; P - Allowed under permit under 
special circumstances; C - Closed seasons or quotas may be imposed; B - 
Animals and parts from captive-breeding facilities allowed; * - these 
territories are Overseas D6partements of France with which the EEC may trade 
without the imposition of CITES controls; ? - no information. Note 
C. crocodllus apaporlensls, which is on CITES Appendix I, occurs within 
Colombia, where it is accorded full protection (Fuller et al . , 1987 modified 
by G. Hemeley In lltt. 1987). 





CITES 


Hunting 


Trade 


Export 


Argentina 


1981 


A 


1983 


A 


1983 


A 1983 


Bolivia 


1979 


A 


1986 


A 


1986 


B 1979/ S/P/C 1986 


Brazil 


1975 


A 


1967 


A/B 1967 


A/B 1967 


Colombia 


1981 


A 


1983 


B/P 1978 


B/S/P/C 1974 


Costa Rica 


1975 


A 


1983 


A/B 1983 


A/B 1984 


Cuba 


_ 


? 




? 




? 


Ecuador 


1975 


C 




P 




A 1981 


El Salvador 


1987 


- 




- 




P 1985 


Fr. Guiana 


1978 « 


A 


1986 


A 


1986 


A 1986 


Guatemala 


1980 


A 


1986 


A 


1986 


A 1986 


Guyana 


1977 


- 




- 




A 1986/C 1987 


Honduras 


1985 


- 




- 




- 


Mexico 


_ 


C 


1951 


_ 




A/B 1982 


Nicaragua 


1977 


A 


1977 


P 


1979 


A 1977 


Panama 


1978 


A 


1980 


A 


1980 


A 1980 


Paraguay 


1977 


A 


1975 


A 


1975 


A 1975 


Peru 


1975 


C 


1973 


A 


1973 


A 1973 


Puerto Rico 


1975 


? 




? 




P 


Suriname 


1981 


- 




- 




P 


Trinidad & Tobago 


1984 


A 


1958 


A 


1958 


A 1958 


Venezuela 


1978 


C 


1982 


P 


1982 


S/P/C 1982 



CAPTIVB BREEDING C. crocodllus is kept in a large number of zoological 
collections and breeds regularly. There are aslo several farming operations 
orientated towards the commercial production of caimans for skins; these are 
summarised below. Many of these farms keep crocodilians primarily as a tourist 
attraction, and others are orientated more towards research. There are 
currently none which derive most of their income from skin sales, and 
Hagnusson (1984) has suggested that this may not be possible, owing to the low 
value of C. crocodllus hides. The largest commercial operations for 
C. crocodllus exist in Taiwan, and these depend mainly on the sale meat and 
medicinal products. 

Bolivia ASICUSA (Asociaclon de Curtidones de Cueros de Saurios), based in 
Cochabamba and comprising four companies, Tomy, Alligator, Dorado and Hoxos, 
all involved in the tanning and processing of caiman skins in Bolivia, was 
reported in 1982 to be establishing a crocodilian farm in Bolivia. In 1983 it 
was claimed that the stock Included 2000 crocodilians comprising 
C. crocodllus crocodllus, C. crocodllus yacare, Melanosuchus nlger and 
"another species of Caiman". However Quaino, Director of "Moxos" Alligator 



69 



CalBian crocodllus 

Ranch, stated that his ranch was only in a very preliminary phase and 
contained only C. crocodllus In 1983. It Is extremely unlikely that any 
breeding has taken place on any farm in Bolivia. A report in 1982 stated 
categorically that no breeding had occurred at that stage (Luxmoore, et al . , 
1985). 

Brazil No commercial crocodilian farming has taken place in Brazil but IBOF 
(Instituto Brasileiro de Desenvolvimento Florestal) has initiated some 
experimental farming of C. crocodllus . One breeding centre operated by IBOF 
outside Manaus, the Centro Experimental de Cria^ao em Cativeiro de Animals 
Natives de Interesse Cientifico e Economico (CECAK), formerly held small 
numbers of C. crocodllus and Paleosuchus trlgonatus but these have since 
been disposed of. 

An experimental farm for C. crocodllus yacarc was set up in 1981 in the 
Pantanal about 150 km from Pocone, Mato Grosso. The aim of the project, 
managed by IBOF, is to evaluate the possibility of caiman ranching in the 
Pantanal. Eggs are collected from the wild, Incubated and hatchlings are to be 
released later. Few results are available as yet (Luxmoore et al . , 1985). 
Several cattle farmers in the Pantanal have expressed an interest in caiman 
farming, and two are reported to have started farms (Brazaitis, 1985). 

Colombia No commercial crocodilian breeding operations exist in Colombia, 
but there are two (formerly three) breeding centres for conservation or 
scientific purposes. One of these, the Estacion de Blologla Tropical at 
Villavicencio, kept 17 C. crocodllus in 1983. Another, at Cienaga Grande, 
formerly kept C. crocodllus fuscus, but this is believed to have closed 
(Luxmoore et al . , 1985). 

Costa Rica A commercial farm was set up in the country in 1984 by a 
commercial company acting in conjunction with the Ministerlo de Agrlcultura y 
Ganadaria. They had a stock of 96 C. crocodllus, mostly yearlings in 1985 
(Luxmoore et al . , 1985; Anon., 1985). 

Honduras It was reported that a commercial farm for C. crocodllus was 
under consideration in 1985 (Anon., 1985). 

Italy Only one crocodilian farm is reported to have operated in Italy, but 
it is now thought to have closed down. In 1981 it held a stock of 406 caimans, 
probably C. crocodllus, originating in Colombia (Luxmoore et al . , 1985). 

Surlname There was reported to be a caiman farm in the Saramanca district 
in 1979 (Luxmoore et al . , 1985), but the farm never materialised, being 
merely used as a cover for a commercial hunting operation (M.S. Hoogmoed, in 
lltt. , 26 August 1986). 

Taiwan There are 35 crocodilian farms in Taiwan, the first of which was 
established in 1976. The bulk of the stock is C. crocodllus, of which about 
8000 were kept in 1984. The annual production from all farms in 1984 was 
12.5 t of skins, 30 t of meat and 7.5 t of other products, worth a total of 
around NT$30 million (US$1 = NT$39). Most of this is sold within Taiwan but 
some is exported to Japan and Korea. The meat is sold for food rather than 
medicinal use, except those parts of the skeleton, blood, and male genitalia 
which have medicinal value. The skin is processed for leather manufacture. 
About 2000 hatchlings are produced each year on the farms. Each mature female 
lays about 25-45 eggs with a hatching rate of 451 (Luxmoore et al . , 1985). 



70 



Caiman ctocodllus 

Thailand The Samutprakan Crocodile Farm, which stocks mainly Crocodylus 
slamensls and Crocodylus porosus , also had about 225 C. crocodllus In 
1984 (Luxmoore et al . , 1985). 

Venezuela The Hinlsterlo del Amblente y los Recursos Naturales Renovables 
(HARNR) runs an experimental centre to Investigate techniques of captive 
rearing of crocodilians , mainly C. crocodllus . Two private ranches In the 
Llanos region, Hato Masaguaral and Hato El Frio, have been Iceeplng Crocodylus 
Intermedlus and have begun experiments on collecting and Incubating eggs of 
C. crocodllus , to evaluate the effect of releasing juveniles on the 
potential harvest of the wild population (Luxmoore et al . , 1985). 

RKFBRKNCES 

Acevedo Gomez, C. (1987). Especles de fauna amenezadas por commercio en el 

Paraguay. Ministerlo de Agricultura y Ganaderla, unpublished report. 
Alvarez Del Toro, M. (1974). Los Crocodylla De Mexico, Cestudlo Comparatlvo, 

Instituto Mexlcano de Recursos Naturales Renovables, A.C., Mexico, D.F., 

April 1974: 1-70. 
Anon. (1984). A perception of the issue of high trade volume. Unpublished 

report prepared for CITES by the Wildlife Trade Monitoring Unit, lUCN. 
Anon. (1985). Area reports. lUCN/SSC Crocodile Specialist Group Newsletter 

4: 16-17. 
Asanza, E. (1984). Distribution and status of caimans In the Amazon of 

Ecuador. Paper presented at the 7th International Meeting of the lUCN/SSC 

Crocodile Specialist Group, Caracas. 
Behler, J.L. and King, F.W. (1979). The Audubon Society field guide to 

North American reptiles and amphibians. Knopf, New York, 720 pp. 
Brazaitis, P. (1973). The identification of living crocodilians. Zoologlca 

(N.Y.) 58(4): 59-101. 
Brazaitis, P. (1985). Area reports: Brazil. lUCN/SSC Crocodile Specialist 

Group Newsletter 4: 16-17. 
Brazaitis, P. (in press). Reptile leather trade: the forensic examiner's role 

In litigation and wildlife law enforcement. Journal of Forensic Sciences. 
Crawshaw, P.G., jr. and Schaller, G.B. (1980). Nesting of Paraguayan Caimans 

ICalman yacare) In Brazil. Papels Avulsos do Departamento de Zoologla, 

Secretarla da Agricultura, Sao Paulo 33(18): 283-292. 
Fitch, H.S. and Nadeau, M.R. (1979). An assessment of Caiman latlrostrls 

and Caiman crocodllus yacare In Argentina. WVfF Progress Report, Project 

No. 79. 3162. 
Fitch, H.S. and Nadeau, M.R. (1980). An assessment of Caiman latlrostrls 

and Caiman crocodllus yacare in northern Argentina. Unpublished final 

report on WWF Project No. 79. 3162. 
Flttkau, E.J. (1970). Role of caimans in the nutrient regime of mouth-lakes 

of Amazon affluents (An hypothesis) Blotroplca 2(2): 138-142. 
Flores Villela, O.A. (1980). Reptiles de Importancla economlca en Mexico. 

Thesis, Universidad Naclonal Autonoma de Mexico, 278 pp. 
Fugler, C.E. (1982). January. Current status of crocodilian populations 

In eastern Bolivia. Unpublished report. 
Fuller, K.S., Swift, B., Jorgenson, A. and Brautlgam. A. (1987). Latin 

American wildlife trade laws, Second Edition (Revised). World Wildlife 
Fund-US. 
Gallego, H.C. (1978). Informe de la Comlsion Efectuada a San Andr6s y 

Providencia: fauna sllvestre. Unpublished report, 25 pp. 
Garrldo, H.O. and Jaume, M.L. (1984). Catalogo descrlptivo de los anfiblos y 

reptiles de Cuba. Donana - Acta Vertebrata 11(2): 5-112. 
Glastra, R. (1983). Notes on a population of Caiman crocodllus crocodllus 

depleted by hide hunting. Biological Conservation 26(2): 149-162. 
Gorzula. S.J. (1978). An ecological study of Caiman crocodllus crocodllus 
inhabiting savanna lagoons In the Venezuelan Guayana. Oecologla 35, 
21-34. 

71 



Caiman crocodllus 

Gorzulft, S.J. (1985). Area reports: Venezuela. lUCN/SSC Crocodile Specialist 

Group Newsletter 4: 17. 
Gorzula, S.J. and Paolillo, 0. (1986). La ecologla y estado actual de los 

aligatores de la Guyana Venezolana. In: Crocodiles . Proceedings of the 

7th Working Meeting of the Crocodile Specialist Group of the Species 

Survival Coimlsslon of lUCN , Caracas, 21-28 October 1984. lUCN 

Publication New Series, pp. 37-54. 
Groombridge, B. (1982). The lUCN Amphlbla-Reptllla Red Data Book, Part 1, 

Testudlnes, Crocodglla, Rhynchocephalla. lUCN, Gland, 426 pp. 
Hardy, J.D. (1982). Biogeography of Tobago, West Indies, with special 

reference to amphibians and reptiles: a review. Maryland Herpetologlcal 

Society 18(2): 37-142. 
Hunt, R.H. (1969). Breeding the Spectacled Caiman, Caiman crocodllus, at 

Atlanta Zoo. International Zoo Yearbook 9: 36-37. 
Hyman, R. (1985). Brazil wages war on poachers. Intenatlonal Wildlife 

(Jan/Feb): 5-11. 
Hemley, G. and Caldwell, J. (1986). The crocodile skin trade since 1979. In: 

Crocodiles . Proceedings of the 7th Working Meeting of the Crocodile 

Specialist Group of the Species Survival Conmlsslon of lUCN, Caracas, 

21-28 October 1984. lUCN Publication New Series, pp. 398-412. 
King, F.W. and Brazaitis, P. (1971). Species identification of commercial 

crocodilian skins. Zoologlca (N.Y.) 56(2): 15-70. 
Lang, J.W. (1977). Thermal ecology and social behaviours of Caiman 

crocodllus in the Llanos of Venezuela. Progress report to the National 

Zoological Park., Smithsonian Institution. 
Luxmoore, R.A. , Barzdo, J.G., Broad, S.R. and Jones, D.A. (1985). A directory 

of crocodilian farming operations . lUCN, Cambridge, 204 pp. 
Magnusson, W.E. (1982). Biological aspects of the conservation of Amazonian 

crocodilians in Brasil. In: Crocodiles. Proceedings of the 5th Working 

Meeting of the Crocodile Specialist Group of the SSC of lUCN, Gainesville, 

Florida, August 1980. lUCN Publication, New Series pp. 108-116. 
Magnusson, W.E. (1984). Economics, developing countries, and the captive 

propagation of crocodilians. Wildlife Society Bulletin 12: 194-197. 
Maness, S.J. (1982). Status of Crocodylus acutus , Caiman crocodllus 

fuscus, and Caiman crocodllus crocodllus in Venezuela. In: Crocodiles. 

Proceedings of the 5th Working Meeting of the Crocodile Specialist Group 

of the SSC of lUCN, Gainesville, Florida, August 1980. lUCN Publication, 

New Series pp. 117-120. 
Medem, F. (1960). Notes on the Paraguay Caiman, Caiman yacare Daudln. 

Mlttellungen aus der Zoologlsche Museum, Berlin, 36(1): 129-142. 
Medem, F. (1971). Situation Report on Crocodilian from three South American 

countries. Proceedings of First Working Meeting of Crocodile Specialists, 

Survival Service Commission, lUCN Publications , New Series, Supplementary 

Paper 32:54-71. 
Medem, F. (1973). Survey of South American countries. Status report. 

(Unpublished manuscript) (not seen, cited in Groombridge, 1982). 
Medem, F. (1979). Los anfiblos y reptiles de las Islas Gorgona y Gorgonilla. 

In: Prahl, H. von, Guhl , F. and Grbgl , M. (eds). Gorgona. Unlversldad de 

los Andes, Colombia, pp. 189-217. 
Medem, F. (1980). Caimans and crocodiles - A tale of destruction. Oryx 

15(4): 390-391. 
Medem, F. (undated, post 1978?). The present status of the crocodilians In 

Colombia, Bolivia and Brazil. Unpublished Report. 
Mena Moya, R.A. (1978). Fauna y caza en Costa Rica. Ramon A. Mena Herrera y 

Suchs. S.A., Costa Rica, 255 pp. 
Pereya, G.R. (1979). Fundamentos y programa de manejo para uso publico del 

Pargue Naclonal del Manu. Mlnlsterio de Agrlcultura y Alimentaclon, Peru, 

183 pp. 



72 



Caiman crocodllus 

Quero de Pena, M. (in press). Politica de admlnistraclon del recurso fauna 

silvestre en relacion al aprovechamiento comercial experimental de la 

©specie baba (Caima/) crocodllus) en los Llanos Venezolanos. Paper 

presented at the 7th Working Meeting of the Crocodile Specialist Group of 

the Species Survival Commission of lUCN, Caracas, 21-28 October 1984. 
Rebelo, G.H. and Magnusson, W.E. (1983'. An analysis of the effect of hunting 

on Caiman crocodllus and Melanosuchus nlger based on the sizes of 

confiscated skins. Biological Conservation 26: 95-104. 
Schwartz, A. and Henderson, R.W. (1985). / guide to the Identification of the 

amphibians and reptiles of the West Indies^ exclusive of Hlspanlola. 

Milwaukee Public Museum, 165 pp. 
Schwartz, A., Thomas, R. and Ober, L.D. (1978). First supplement to a 

check-list of West Indian amphibians and reptiles. Carnegie Museum of 

Natural History Special Publication 5: 1-35. 
Seijas, A.E. (1986). Situacion actual de las poblaciones de babas y babillas 

(Caiman crocodllus) en la region norte costera de Venezuela. In: 

Crocodiles . Proceedings of the 7th Working Meeting of the Crocodile 

Specialist Group of the Species Survival Commission of lUCN , Caracas, 

21-28 October 1984. lUCN Publication New Series, pp. 28-36. 
Serrano, F. (1978). Informe de actividades de la Unidad de Parques Nacionales 

y Vida Silvestre de El Salvador. In: Morales, R., MacFarland, C, Incer, 

J. and Hobbs, A. (eds), Prlmera Reunion Regional Centroamerlcana Sobre 

Vlda Silvestre . Centre Agronomico Tropical de Investigacion y Ensenanza, 

Turrialba, Costa Rica, pp. 117-12A. 
Smith, H.M., and Smith, R.B. (1979). Synopsis of the herpetofauna of Mexico. 

Vol. v.. Guide to Mexican Amphlsbaenlans and Crocodlllans . John Johnson, 

North Bennington, Vermont. 
Smith, N.J.H. (1980). Caimans, capybaras, otters, manatees and roan in 

Amazonia. Biological Conservation 19: 177-187. 
Staton, M.A. and Dixon, J.R. (1977). Breeding Biology of the Spectacled 

Caiman, Caiman crocodllus crocodllus, in the Venezuelan Llanos. U.S. 

Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, midlife Research 

Report #5, Washington, D.C. 
Torres Santibanez, H. (1978). Conservacion y manejo de la fauna silvestre del 

Parque Nacional Defensores del Chaco. FAO Document de Trabajo 2 FAO/SFN: 

6/PAR/02/T. 
Vallester, E. (1978). Informe de Panama sobre la situacion de la fauna 

silvestre. In: Morales, R. , MacFarland, C. , Incer, J. and Hobbs, A. (eds), 

Prlmera Reunion Regional Centroamerlcana Sobre Vlda Silvestre. Centre 

Agronomico Tropical de Investigacion y Ensenanza, Turrialba, Costa Rica, 

pp. 43-64. 
Vanzolini, P.E. and Gomes, N. (1979). Notes on the ecology and growth of 

Amazonian caimans (Crocodylia, Alligatoridae) . Papels Avulsos de 

Zoologla 32(17): 205-216. 
Varona, L.S. (1980). Protection in Cuba. Oryx 15(3): 282-284. 
Waller, T. (1987). Registro de las localidades de distribucion de las 

especies del genero Caiman (Crocodylia, Alligatoridae) en Argentina. 

Amphibia y Reptllla (conservacion) 1(3): 68-75. 
Wermuth, H. and Fuchs, K. (1978). flestimroen von krocodlllen und Ihrer 

Haute. Verlag, Stuttgart, 100 pp. 
Wermuth, H. and Mertens. R. (1977). Testudines, Crocodylia, Rhychocephalia. 

Das Tlerrelch 100: 1-174. 



73 



NEW GUINEA CROCODILE Reconmended list: 3 

(No problem*] 
Crocodylus novaegulneae Schmidt, 1928 

Order CROCODYLIA Family CROCODYLIDAE 

*Note last paragraph Summary and Conclusions 

SUWMABY AND CONCLUSIONS A small to moderate size crocodilian, occurring 
mainly in freshwater habitats, almost restricted to the island of New Guinea 
(Papua New Guinea and Irian Jaya) . Intense exploitation for hides, at a peak 
in the 1960s, has led to widespread depletion of populations, but adequate 
populations are known or thought to persist in both Irian Jaya and Papua New 
Guinea, mainly in remote and poorly accessible lowland grass swamps. 
Difficult terrain and secretive habits inhibit reliable estimation of 
population size or location but may also hinder exploitation. Remains largely 
submerged in water during daylight, rarely basics, emerges at night. Feeds 
mainly on fish and waterfowl, also other small vertebrates. Sexual maturity 
in females generally attained at 1.8-2 m, age 6-8 years (possibly up to 10 
years in the wild), and 2.5 m, age uncertain, in males. A 1.7 m wild female, 
belly width 34 cm, has been recorded with 30 eggs. A mound-nesting species, 
females guard nest. Mean clutch size in northern PNG 35, in southern PNG 22; 
eggs of southern females tend to be larger, to 77 cm and 97 g. Females and 
males may excavate nest, assist hatchlings to water, and females associate 
with own hatchlings. 

Hide hunting and collection of young to stock, rearing farms are present 
threats to survival. Few protected areas exist. In Papua New Guinea a 
project developed with FAO/UNDP assistance exports ranched hides. The initial 
emphasis on village 'farms' has now given way to ranching in a small number of 
larger commercial establishments, using stock collected by villagers from the 
wild. The effect on wild populations is unknown in full, but early results of 
the PNG monitoring scheme indicate a small but steady rise in nesting numbers 
in the survey area (Sepik River). In this area at least, a continued harvest 
of young crocodiles has been compatible with survival of a healthy crocodile 
population, given that breeding adults and nests are adequately protected. 
Present legal size range of skins is 7-20 inch belly width; the upper limit 
should be decreased to provide more complete protection of the smaller 
breeders. Rearing projects, similar to the PNG model, are to be promoted in 
Irian Jaya, where numbers of novaegulneae appear to be adequate. Large 
numbers of skins of this species have appeared in trade reported to CITES in 
recent years: extremes of 5812 and 25 304 between 1980 and 1985, with a mean 
of 16 746, from PNG and 1455-17 319, mean 7079, from Indonesia. The PNG 
figures, derived from reported imports, do not correspond well with export 
numbers reported by PNG itself, which are rather higher. Similarly, with the 
exception of 1985, the Indonesian figures are not thought to reflect the true 
volume of exports. 

There seems no doubt that this species is able to sustain a substantial trade, 
based on ranching of wild caught young and controlled harvest of sub-adults, 
provided that protection of breeding adults and of nests is rigorously 
enforced. There are indications that the control of trade in Indonesia is not 
adequate and there have been substantial illegal exports. However a new FAG 
programme has been initiated which aims to manage the harvest and regulate the 
trade. It is too early to say if this is working. 



74 



Crocodylus novaegulneae 

DISTRIBUTION Virtually restricted to the island of New Guinea (Papua New 
Guinea and Irian Jaya) (Neill, 1971; Hollands, 1987; Whitaker et al . , 1985). 

The freshwater crocodile in New Guinea was originally described as a full 
species (Schmidt, 1928), but several authors have treated this form and the 
freshwater crocodile in the Philippines as two subspecies of one species, 
C. n. novaegulneae and C. n. mindorensls respectively. A recent tendency 
is to regard the Philippines crocodile as a full species C. mindorensls, in 
which case the New Guinea form also reverts to a monotypic species 
C. novaegulneae (Wermuth and Mertens, 1977). A significant number of 
differences exist - in cranial osteology, scalation, and aspects of 
reproductive biology - between populations north and south of the central 
highlands in Papua New Guinea (Hollands, 1987, and references therein). A 
case could be made for regarding these population groups as separate species 
(Cox, 1984; Hollands, 1987 and sources cited therein). 

Indonesia Seemingly widespread in Irian Jaya, extending from the border with 
Papua New Guinea westward to the Kepala Burung (Vogellcop) region (Whitalcer et 
al . , 198S). This species retains significant populations in large tracts of 
swamp country, especially when deep inland or otherwise remote; some 40 000 sq 
km of such habitat occurs in Irian Jaya, concentrated in the southern lowlands 
(from Heraulce to Timuka), the Mamberamo and its tributaries in the Heervlakte 
region (north of the central highlands), and the southern section of the 
Kepala Burung (Whitaker et al . , 198S). 

Papua New Guinea Widespread in areas of suitable freshwater habitat both 
north and south of the central highlands, extending from the border with Irian 
Jaya eastward to the vicinity of Robinson River near Abau (Central Province), 
almost at the eastern tip of the island. Absent from the island provinces of 
Papua New Guinea (Whitaker, 1980). 

POPULATION Overall, populations of C. novaegulneae appear to be widely 
depleted to some extent, severely depleted in places, but adequate densities 
are retained in parts of both Irian Jaya and Papua New Guinea. The difficult 
terrain and secretive habits inhibit accurate estimation of population status, 
but regular aerial surveys in selected areas of the Sepik system from 1981 to 
date - a component of the crocodile management project in PNG - have now 
provided the foundation for essential long-term monitoring, using nest numbers 
as an indicator of population trends (Hollands, 1984, 1985). 

Indonesia Although populations of both crocodilians in Irian Jaya 
(C. novaegulneae and C. porosus) are reported significantly reduced from 
primordial levels due to excessive hide-hunting, "stable populations" or 
"considerable numbers" of novaegulneae remain in large tracts of remote or 
poorly accessible swamp country (Whitaker et aJ . , 1985). Given the great 
extent of such potential habitat available, Irian Jaya has been estimated to 
possess the carrying capacity for several hundred thousand crocodiles 
(Whitaker et al . , 1985). A recent survey recorded only 0.27 crocodiles per 
kilometre of the 847 km of river covered; about 4% of the total of 226 
crocodiles were C. porosus, the rest, C. novaegulneae. (Whitaker et 
al., 1985). These same consultants give a conservative estimate, based on 
their survey results and on habitat availability, that 7 000-10 000 small 
novaegulneae could be collected annually in Irian Jaya to form the basis for 
the establishment of a sustainable crocodile industry along the lines of the 
PNG model. Another study, carried out by the Forestry District Office, Irian 
Jaya, and the Faculty of Forestry, Bogor, (Anon., 1986) concluded that the 
population of crocodiles (both C. porosus and C. novaegulneae) in Irian 
Jaya was 2 596 808, based on sample surveys in a few localities. These 
estimates were thrown into doubt by Cox (1987), who extrapolated the 

75 



Crocodylus novaegulneae 

population density estimates from Papua New Guinea to the amount of available 
habitat in Irian Jaya and concluded that a better estimate for the latter 
country would be 350 000 C. novaegulneae and 63 000 C. porosus . 

Papua New Guinea Aerial surveys of selected nesting areas along the Sepik, 
yielding data from which a nesting index is calculated, suggest a 381 increase 
in novaegulneae numbers between 1981 and 1983 (Hollands, 198A). The Sepik 
region produces nearly 40X of the country's skin crop, and, since the 
situation here is considered likely to be representative of the overall 
national picture, it was concluded in 1984 that the current crocodile 
management and exploitation regime is not only not causing further depletion 
of wild stocks, but is allowing significant population recovery (Hollands, 
1984). The last survey incorporated in the above summary was carried out 
during the high-water phase in March 1984 but novaegulneae nesting Is at a 
peak during low-water, in October /November ; a subsequent survey at this time 
in the same year suggested a substantial reduction from the 1983 level to a 
little below that recorded for 1981 (Hollands, 1984, Annex 1). The latest 
survey for which results are available was carried out in October 1985. This 
indicates a substantial rise in nesting activity, to a level above that in 
1983, and A2J, above that recorded at the start of the monitoring programme in 
1981 (Hollands, 1984, Supplement dated November 1985). It was concluded at 
the end of 1985 that rainfall and water level patterns were not conducive to 
nesting during 1984, and that the novaegulneae population in the Sepik area 
is continuing to rise steadily (Hollands, 1984, Supplement dated November 
1985). 

The report cited above highlights the case of Kamiemu as demonstrating the 
best aspects of the PNG cropping programme; here, some 3.5 sq. km of floating 
mat vegetation enclosed within an overgrown oxbow loop supports markedly 
increased nesting by novaegulneae , up to 27 nests in 1985 (Table 1 in 
Supplement). At this site both nests and breeding adult crocodiles are 
protected but a good number of young are harvested by local inhabitants to be 
sold to commercial crocodile farms. In contrast, at another site, nesting 
numbers continue to fall, mainly due to hunters killing adults for meat and 
taking skins (Hollands, 1984, Supplement dated 1985). 

Population data of comparable quality are not available for other parts of 
PNG. In general, good numbers are said to remain in large tracts of inland 
grassy swamp, especially in more remote areas (Downes, 1971; Whitaker, 1980). 
The upper and middle Strickland River, with up to 2.23 crocodiles/km of river, 
primarily adults and subadults, may remain at historic population levels 
(Montague, 1981). Populations have been locally overhunted (Downes, 1971; 
Whitaker, 1980), with severe decline noted, for example, in Fly and Sepik 
River populations, and Lake Murray (Neill, 1971). Recent surveys in the Sepik 
region (see above) now suggest significant population recovery (Hollands, 
1984). There is some evidence for slight recovery of novaegulneae in Lake 
Murray and the Fly River, due in the former to Government releases (10 adults 
in 1980) and escapes from the Baboa crocodile station, and in the latter to 
reduced hunting pressure (Montague, 1981, 1982a). Crocodile density is still 
(1978-1980) only 0.18 crocodiles/km on Lake Murray, and 1.8, 0.35, on the 
lower and middle Fly (Montague, 1981). In Papua New Guinea a density of 2 or 
more crocodiles/km appears indicative of healthy crocodile populations 
(Montague, 1981). It has been suggested that crocodile hunting should be 
banned on rivers with a density index of under 0.5 (Montague, 1981). A survey 
of navigable portions of the Purari River revealed a low density of 
crocodiles, subject to substantial exploitation; hunters interviewed suggested 
that the population had declined in the last decade (Pernetta and Burgin, 
1980). However, significant numbers of novaegulneae may exist undetected in 
large areas of grass swamp connected by creeks to the main river. It was 
suggested by local hunters that crocodiles move into remote swamps during the 

76 



Crocodylus nova&gulneae 

breeding season and only appear in more accessible river channels as water 
levels in the swamps decline (Pernetta and Burgin, 1980). It has been 
stressed that although hunting pressure may be less in remote grass swamps, it 
is probably never negligible, due mainly to the versatility of native canoes 
(Pernetta, 1982). In the Lake Murray area, low water surveys of 1302 km 
resulted in a count of 1112 crocodiles, probably indicating about 1765 
actually present. Yet in 1980 alone, 2002 young live crocodiles (including 
l.ll C. porosus) and 1100 skins were taken out of the area; it is considered 
that the permanent swamps adjacent to main navigable areas provided the 
additional crocodiles (Montague, 1981). 

HABITAT AND gCOLCXTy A relatively small crocodilian, average adult size 
1.8-2 m (Brazaitis, 1973), maximum male length possibly around 3.5 m 
(Whitaker, 1980), maximum actually recorded 3.35 m (Montague, 1982a). Mainly 
occurs In freshwater habitats, but sometimes in brackish areas (Brazaitis, 
1973), for example near the mouth of the Fly River (source in Whitaker, 
1980). Primarily a lowland species, maximum known elevation is August River 
(West Sepik) c 600 m above sea level (source in Whitaker, 1980). 

Most remaining good populations appear to occur in remote areas of extensive 
grass-swamp (Downes, 1971; Whitaker, 1980; Whitaker et aJ . , 1985). The New 
Guinea crocodile was formerly abundant, for example, in Lake Murray, a vast 
shallow lake basin, with highly indented shoreline and forested islands, the 
surroundings with rain forest, Melaleuca swamp and sago (Neill, 1971). In 
Waigani Swamp, the species was reported to avoid deep open water of the larger 
lakes, and prefer deep slow-flowing channels and small lakes overgrown with 
herbaceous aquatics (Neill, 1971). 

Generally very secretive in habits. Juveniles, in particular, disperse into 
flooded swamplands during high water, possibly in response to harassment by 
larger individuals (Montague, 1981). Smaller crocodiles rarely enter the 
midstream of rivers but prefer near-shore cover such as emergent vegetation, 
overhanging branches and fallen trees (Montague, 1981). Captive individuals 
(at Moitaka Crocodile Farm, PNG) would emerge to bask in direct sunlight only 
occasionally, usually during periods of cool rainy weather. Most of the 
daylight hours were spent submerged or with only the head at the water 
surface. The crocodiles would emerge in late afternoon and remain out of the 
water all night and into the early morning. Body temperature was typically 
close to 30°C during daytime. The major behavioural pattern involved heat 
avoidance rather than heat gain (Lang, 1980a). Similar behaviour is recorded 
in wild populations (Neill, 1971). In Papua New Guinea about 12 times as many 
C. novaegulneae could be found on land at night than in day time (Montague, 
1981, 1982a). 

An opportunistic feeder, the known diet includes waterfowl such as crakes, 
rails and grebes (Neill, 1971; Whittaker, 1980) but fish are thought to be the 
main food (Montague, 1982a). Stomach contents of a 135 cm novaegulneae 
included a 60 cm watersnake Amphlesma malrll, a rallid bird, grasshoppers, 
leaves, and 40 gm of pebbles (Whitaker, 1980). Presumably small mammals are 
also taken. Hatchlings feed on invertebrates such as roosqultos, grasshoppers 
and water bugs (source in Burgin, 1980b). 

Sexual maturity may generally be attained in females at 1.8-2 m, age 6 to 8 
years, and 2.0-2.5 m, age uncertain, in males (Lang, 1981). Females estimated 
at 1.5 m total length have been observed guarding nests in Waigani Swamp 
(Neill, 1946), and a female of 34 cm belly width, 1.7 m length, was found to 
contain 30 eggs (Jelden, 1981). First breeding in the wild may typically 
occur at around 10 years of age in both sexes (Montague, 1982a). It should be 
noted that the PNG legislation prohibiting trade in skins over 20" (51 cm) 
belly width exposes young breeding females to legal hunting mortality for 1-2 

77 



Crocodylus novaegulneae 

years until this size is attained (Montague, 1982b). A near 1:1 sex ratio was 
found in a sample of 2031 wild novaegulneae from the Fly River (Montague, 
1982b). 

At Moitalca (PNG) courtship begins with the first rains, egg deposition follows 
after 4-8 weelcs . The northern populations in Papua New Guinea nest during a 
rather short period in the dry season between August and November, hatching 
occurs as water levels increase; in dry zones of the south, nesting occurs at 
the start of the wet season, between Auguat and May, but with a peak, in the 
middle of the wet season (Hollands, 1987; Cox, 1984). This timing may reflect 
hatchling requirements for increased vegetative cover and food supply 
(Whitaker, 1980). In a captive group (Moitaka Crocodile Farm, PNG) it appears 
likely that territorial behaviour and operation of a well-defined social 
hiearchy occur all year round, not only during the breeding season when most 
observations have been made (Lang, 1980a). However, individuals of the 
species appear more tolerant of conspecifics than individuals of C. potosus 
(Lang, 1980a). 

In the Sepik River region, nearly 9011 of nesting takes place amid floating 
vegetation mats involving various plant associations. Most of these nests are 
placed either in the flooded parts of 'scroll' zones (areas of parallel curved 
ridges and gulleys formed by sequential erosion and deposition at river bends) 
or in floating vegetation fringing open lakes and lagoons, and in vegetated 
oxbow lakes (Cox, 1984). Land nests are more frequent in southern Papua New 
Guinea where floating mat vegetation is less widespread (Cox, 1984). Both the 
general site and the nest itself are often reused from year to year. The nest 
is constructed of a mound of vegetable debris derived from plants at the nest 
site; mean length, width and height for floating nests in the Sepik region 
were 153, 131 and 50 cm, respectively (Cox, 1984). Mean clutch size in 
northern populations is 35; 22 in southern populations. Mean egg length and 
weight is 70 cm and 77 g, and 77 cm, 97 g, respectively. Northern animals 
thus lay more, but smaller eggs. 

THREATS TO SURVIVAL The primary factor leading to depletion of 
C. novaegulneae populations over the past few decades has been over-hunting 
for skins. Collection of eggs for food is also widespread (Downes, 1971; 
Jelden, 1981). Present evidence from PNG indicates that harvesting of young 
can be compatible with survival and even recovery of novaegulneae 
populations providing that killing of breeding adults and nest predation are 
curtailed. 

In Papua New Guinea the two indigenous crocodilians , C. porosus and 
C. novaegulneae, are utilized in a management scheme developed with the 
assistance of FAG/UNDP. It is argued that since there is a very high 
mortality of hatchling crocodiles in the wild, a harvestable surplus exists 
that could be taken and reared to commercial size in captivity, without 
affecting the status of wild populations. Rearing stations were mainly 
village-based and owned by local people and it was intended that rational 
management instead of indiscriminate hunting would be of long-term economic 
benefit. By the end of 1979 over 200 village crocodile-rearing stations were 
established (Kwapena and Bolton, 1980). However, only about 151 of the 
•farms' were rearing crocodiles satisfactorily, due to lack of expertise in 
animal husbandry, seasonal fluctuations in water, difficulty in obtaining 
crocodile food, and other factors (Kwapena and Bolton, 1980). The emphasis 
now is on collecting of young crocodiles for sale to the three large-scale 
commercial farms. It has been suggested that this buying scheme has Increased 
hunting pressure on wild populations (Burgin, 1980a). It has also been argued 
(Burgin, 1980a) that the basic assumption, that there is a very high 
density-dependent hatchling mortality, may only apply to populations at the 
carrying capacity of the environment. Density-dependant mortality would be 

78 



Crocodylus novaegulneAe 

expected to be lower in populations already depleted by exploitation. The 
effect of the rearing prograinme on wild populations is uncertain although 
results of the monitoring programme (see 'Population', above) are very 
promising (Hollands, 1986, 1987). The PNG programme can not be considered a 
confirmed success until it is demonstrated that exploitation is being limited 
to a level consistent with long-term survival of the resource, but, despite 
valid reservations, the PNG project appears to constitute the closest approach 
yet achieved toward rational utlization of any crocodilian resource. It is 
claimed that the scheme not only maintains rural economies and counters urban 
drift, but also conserves wild crocodile populations since the hatchlings 
collected are considered a harvestable surplus and recruitment into the 
breeding segment, itself untouched, is able to continue. Full scale FAO/UNDP 
involvement ended in 1981 (except for persons assisting with monitoring). 

A similar pattern of trade in the 1950s and 1960s is reported in Irian Jaya 
(Lever, 1980b). Hunting for the skin trade is the main factor affecting 
crocodile populations in Indonesia and collection of young for rearing appears 
to be on a smaller scale at present. Hunting in Irian Jaya is often organised 
by Chinese traders using transmigrants from Java or Sulawesi to liase with 
villagers who perform the actual hunting (Lever, 1980a). In 1972-1973 on the 
Eilanden River, Indonesian soldiers based at Agats were hide hunting and 
organising local people into hunting parties (Webb, 1981). Reportedly 
thousands of juvenile crocodiles (proportion of novaegulneae unknown) were 
being purchased ready for shipment to rearing farms in Singapore, a collection 
station was controlled by merchants in Jayapura and another located on Biak; 
these crocodiles and hides were traded through Jakarta or direct with 
Singapore (Webb, 1981). The scale of illegal skin exports is discussed in the 
next section. Dixon et al . (in press) showed that the average belly width 
of C. novaegulneae skins imported to Japan from Indonesia varied between 
26.9 cm and 39.6 cm, while those from PNG were between 20.3 cm and 28.2 cm, 
being both smaller and less variable in size. 

IKTKRNATIOWAL TRADE The number of C. novaegulneae skins in trade in the 
1960s increased as hunters turned to this species after shooting-out most 
C. porosus in accessible waterways, but this was followed by a marked 
decline after 1966 as C. novaegulneae populations in turn became depleted 
(Dowries, 1971). The volume of C. novaegulneae skins produced in the PNG 
trade fell from 62 948 in 1974 to 17 690 in 1975 after the introduction of new 
control measures, but then gradually increased again to 35 374 in 1979 
(Hollands, 1987). More recent export figures are given in Table 3. Minimum 
net imports of skins of C. novaegulneae recorded in CITES Annual Reports are 
shown in Tables 1 and 2. The principal importers have been Japan, the USA, 
Italy and France. The number of skins reported to have originated in PNC 
(Table 2) shows fairly poor correlation with those elsewhere reported to have 
been exported (Table 3), due partially to the fact that PNG did not submit 
annual reports to CITES in 1981 or 1982. The number of skins said to have 
originated in Indonesia in Table 2 similarly gives a very poor indication of 
the true volume of the trade, and this subject was examined in detail by 
Luxmoore (1986). Lever (1980a) considered that about 10 000 skins were 
exported annually from Irian Jaya, around 90X of these being C. novaegulneae 
(Lever, 1980b). Dixon et al . (in press) examined the records of skin 
dealers in Japan and estimated the total numbers of skins of C. novaegulneae 
imported into Japan directly from Indonesia and via Singapore to be 518, 669, 
976, 513, 1680, 745, 832 and 2856 in the eight years from 1977 to 1984 
respectively. Similar imports from PNG over the same peiod were estimated at 
5108, 9785, 10 624, 10 728, 7920, 7956, 8363 and 9706. However they pointed 
out that independant evidence from Japanese Customs import records indicated 
that the figures supplied by the dealers only accounted for between 5 and 48X 
of the total amount of crocodile skins imported from Indonesia over this 
period. Correlation between the dealers' and Customs data was much better for 

79 



Crocodylus novaegulneAe 

imports from Papua New Guinea (over 701). If the imports from Indonesia are 
increased proportionately to take account of this discrepancy, they would vary 
from 10 861 in 1977 to 6012 in 1984. These figures are closer to Lever's 
(1980a} estimates of the trade. 

Table 1. Apparent minimum net imports of skins and live animals (L) of 
C. novaegulneae reported to CITES. Some transactions were reported in terms 
of length or weight but the quantities involved were insignificant and these 
data have been excluded from the table. A few live imports, although noted in 
the table, are ignored in the figure for total volume for each year. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Australia 


2 L 


Austria 


383 


Bahamas 


- 


Belgium 


37 


Canada 


1368 


Denmark 


63 


France 


- 


Greece 


74 


German D.R. 


_ 



Germany, F.R. 

Hong Kong 

Iceland 

Israel 

Italy 

Japan 

Korea 

Kuwait 

Liberia 

Mexico 

Morocco 

New Zealand 

Saudi Arabia 

Singapore 

South Africa 

Spain 

Sweden 

Switzerland 

Taiwan 

UAE 

UK 

USA 

Total 



1522 

279 

11 

5838 

5098 

10 

11 

367 



84 



12 
88 

4693 



13029 
32967 



286 
262 



21865 
493 



4306 

21282 
48496 



2 

2 L 
66 



1 L 



85 
34 



5102 
1680 



874 



4088 



3 
2396 

14330 



21 

210 

2 

24 



3 

29 

1 L 

940 

1 L 

2010 

110 

5426 
15915 



12 

82 

10 
2117 

12 

1125 
28048 



107 



8863 



107 



12660 



169 



16428 



180 



24904 



2454 
4 



1128 
29156 



56 
6 



8 
3 

2393 



1160 
41481 



I 



80 



Crocodylus novaegulneae 

Table 2. Reported countries of origin (or exporting country if no origin 
reported) and quantities of transactions in skins of C. novaeguln&ae 
reported to CITES. Transactions reported in terms of length or weight have 
been excluded from the table. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



a. Countries having wild populations of C. novaegulneas 



Indonesia 


3851 


1455 


3503 


8957 


7391 


17319 


PNG 


11060 


15097 


5812 


25304 


22525 


20678 



b. Countries without wild populations of C. novaegulnae. 



Argentina 


- 


- 


Australia 


200 


- 


Austria 


_ 


- 


Denmark. 


- 


- 


France 


842 


154 


Guinea 


- 


- 


India 


- 


- 


Malaysia 


100 


- 


Philippines 


- 


60 


Singapore 


10781 


20882 


South Africa 


- 


- 


UK 


36 


- 


Unknown 


8487 


11204 



1232 



157 



3051 



1886 



12 



24 



170 



1010 



165 



686 
54 

12 



396 

115 

2201 



Table 3. 
1987) 



Exports of C. novaegulneae skins from Papua New Guinea (Hollands, 



1980 


1981 


1982 


1983 


1984 


1985 


27709 


15021 


24733 


15111 


21268 


n/a 



COWSgRYATION MEASURES 

Indonesia Nominally protected to some extent by legislation in Irian Jaya. 
The species is listed as protected in Irian Jaya (Law No. 327/Kpts/Um/5/1978) , 
but it has been proposed that limited hunting should be allowed by permit 
under control of the Ministry of Agriculture (360/Kpts/Um/8/1975) (Lever, 
1980b). 

In Irian Jaya the species appears to occur in the Gunung Lorentz Nature 
Reserve, although severely depleted, and in Pulau Dolok and Wasur Game 
Reserves (Lever, 1980b), also in proposed Mamberamo-Foja, Jayawljaya, Bintoni 
Bay and Danau Bian Nature Reserves (Petocz, 1982). 

Despite legal protection, illegal trade in crocodile skins from Irian Jaya is 
proceeding at an alarming rate; and illegal exports exceed by a large margin 
those officially authorised (Lever, 1980b; Whitaker et ^1 . , 1985; Luxmoore, 
1986; Cox, 1987; Anon., 1987; Dixon et al . , in press). The size of the 
skins in trade, 9-38 inch (c 23-96.5 cm) belly width (Lever, 1980b), are 



81 



Crocodylus novaegulneae 

generally larger than those exported from PNG (Dixon et ai . , in press), 
indicating that breeding adults are being killed. 

Commercial utilization has been identified as the only route to effective 
conservation (Petocz, 1982). The real difficulties of preventing 
over-exploitation are recognized, and a management project, funded by FAO, has 
been initiated which hopes to establish a controlled harvest and ranching 
programme similar to that operating in neighbouring PNG (Cox, 1987). At the 
6th meeting of the Conference to the Parties to CITES in 1987, an agreement 
was reached with the Japanese CITES Management Authority that all imports of 
crocodile slcins from Indonesia should be verified with the Indonesian 
Management Authority before they were allowed into Japan. Singapore, the 
other main importer, did not give such an undertaking. 

Papua New Guinea Crocodile management is controlled by the Crocodile Trade 
Ordinance, 1966 and the Crocodile Trade (Protection) Act. Hunting may only be 
carried out by land-owners or with their permission, but beyond that hunting 
is unregulated. Control is achieved by licensing those who wish to trade in 
skins. The selling of skins having a belly width greater than 20" (51 cm) or 
of less than 7" (18 cm) is prohibited. Smaller animals may be caught and 
traded live for sale to ranches, but they may not be killed for skin trade. 
All exports must be licensed (Hollands, 1987). It appears that this 
programme has been relatively successful in managing the crocodile harvest. 
Populations of both C. novaegulneae and C. porosus have Increased In thr 
Sepik River area. The numbers of skins in international trade are in 
relatively close aggreement with the numbers authorised for export, and the 
Japanese skin importers report that the great majority of skins from PNG fall 
within the legal size limits (Dixon et al . , in press), all of which indicate 
that there is little unregulated trade. It has been suggested that the 
maximum legal skin size in Papua New Guinea trade should be reduced from 51 cm 
to 41 cm (16 Inches) to ensure protection of females in the first year of 
breeding (Montague, 1982b). 

CAPTIVE BREEDING Most of the farms currently rearing C. novaegulneae in 
PNG and Indonesia depend for their stock on hatchlings captured in the wild 
and there is little If any captive breeding. There are in the region of 11 
farms operating in PNG, but the great majority of the stock is held In only 
two large commercial farms. In 1983 the stock of C. novaegulneae was 
estimated to be 11 250 (Luxmoore, et al . , 1985). The percentage of skins 
exported by the farms was small until 1983 but Increased to around 50% of the 
wild harvest in 1984 (Hollands, 1987). There are currently 21 ranches in 
Indonesia which have a capacity of 20-30 000 head. It is estimated that annual 
production from these could rise to 15-20 000 in the next three years, of 
which 75% would be C. novaegulneae (Anon., 1987). Some farms in Singapore 
are believed to be keeping C. novaegulneae (Luxmoore et al . , 1985). 

REPBRKNCBS 

Anon. (1986). Feasibility study of the crocodile skin industry in Irian Jaya, 
prepared by the Forestry District Office, Irian Jaya and the Faculty of 
Forestry, Bogor. Summary translation by A. Mitchell and A. Pugu. 

Anon. (1987). Maintenance of the Indonesian population of Crocodylus 
porosus in Appendix II, with an increase in export quota to 4000 hides 
per annum. Proposal submitted by the Republic of Indonesia to the 6th 
meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES. 

Brazaitis, P. (1973). The identification of living crocodllians. Zoologlca 
(NY), 58(4): 59-101. 



82 



Crocodylus novaegulneae 

Burgin, S. (1980a). Crocodiles and crocodile conservation In Papua Net/ 

Guinea. Baclcground paper given 30 October at Conference on Traditional 

Conservation in Papua New Guinea: Implication for Today. Port Moresby, 

27-31 October. 
Burgin, S. (1980b). The status of the biology and ecology of Papua New 

Guinea's Crocodile, Crocodylus novaegulnea (Schmidt) Science In New 

Guinea 7(3) : 163-170. 
Cox, J. (1984). Crocodile nesting ecology In Papua Heu Guinea. FO: 

DP/PNG/74/029. Field Document No 5. FAO and PNG Dept. of Primary Industry. 
Cox, J. (1987). A strategy for sustained development of the crocodile 

resource in Irian Jaya. Working Paper Number One, GCP/INS/060/JPN. 
Dixon, A.M., Milliken, T. and Tolcunaga, H. (in press) Japanese imports of 

crocodile and alligator skins, 1970-July 1986. Report prepared for the 

International Alligator and Crocodile Trade Study. 
Dowmes, M.C. (1971). Regional situation report - Papua and New Guinea. In: 

Crocodiles , lUCN Publications New Series, Suppl . Paper 32: Al-43. 

(Proceedings of the First Working Meeting of Crocodile Specialists, Bronx 

Zoo NY, March 1971) . 
Hollands, M. (1984). A preliminary examination of crocodile population trends 

in Papua New Guinea from 1981-1984. Paper presented at 7th Working 

Meeting of lUCN Crocodile Specialists Group, October 1984, Caracas, 

Venezuela. (With two Supplements covering October 1984 and March 1985 nest 

surveys ) . 
Hollands, M. (1987). The management of crocodiles in Papua New Guinea. In: 

Webb, G.J., Manolis, S.C. and Whitehead, P.J. (eds) Wildlife Management: 

crocodiles and alligators . Surrey Beaty, Chipping Norton, N.S.W., 

Australia, pp. 73-89. 
Jelden, D.C. (1981). Preliminary studies on the breeding biology of 

Crocodylus porosus and Crocodylus novaegulneae on the Middle Sepik 

(Papua New Guinea). Amphlbla-Reptllla 3/4: 353-358. 
Kwapena, N., and Bolton, M. (1980). The National Crocodile Project In Papua 

New Guinea. Unpublished report pp 1-7. 
Lang, J.W. (1980a). Behaviors of the Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus 

porosus) and the Freshwater Crocodile (C. novagulneae) and 

reconanendatlons on captive breeding. Unpublished preliminary report to 

the Wildlife Division, Dept. of Lands and Environment, Papua New Guinea. 

Pp 1-7. 
Lang, J.W. (1980b). Reproductive behaviours of New Guinea and Saltwater 

Crocodiles . Text of paper presented at SSAR symposium on reproductive 

biology and conservation of crocodiles, 7-9 August 1980, Milwaukee. 
Lang, J.W. (1981). Thermal preferences of hatchllng New Guinea Crocodiles; 

effects of feeding and ontogeny J. them. Biol. 6: 73-78. 
Lang, J. (1982). In litt., 7 February (comments on draft RDB account). 
Lever, J. (1980a). Crocodile status in Irian Jaya. 2-page report to lUCN/SSC 

Crocodile Specialist Group, unpublished. 
Lever, J. (1980b). Crocodile conservation and Industry development In Irian 

Jaya. Report on consultancy sponsored by FAO, prepared for the 

Directorate of Nature Conservation, Directorate General of Forestry. 

Bogor, Indonesia, pp. 1-53 plus Appendices 1-9. 
Lever, J. (1982). In 11 tt., 16 February (comments on draft RDB account). 
Luxmoore, R. (1986). Exploitation of the saltwater Crocodile in Indonesia. 

Traffic Bulletin 7(5): 78-80. 
Luxmoore, R.A., Barzdo, J.G., Broad, S.R. and Jones, D.A. (1985). A directory 

of crocodilian farming operations. lUCN, Gland, 204 pp. 
Montague, J.J. (1981). Characteristics of a crocodile population In Papua New 

Guinea. Unpublished M.Sc. thesis, submitted to Michigan State University, 

Dept. of Fisheries and Wildlife. 
Montague, J.J. (1982a). In lltt., 19 February (comments on draft RDB 

account) . 



83 



Crocodylus novaegulneae 

Montague, J.J. (1982b). Morphometric, Injury and growth analysis of 

Crocodylas novaegulneae from the Fly River drainage. Unpublished Ph.D. 

Thesis, submitted to Michigan State University, Dept. of Fisheries and 

Wildlife. 
Neill, W.T. (1946). Notes on C. novaegulneae. Copeia 1946 (1): 17-20. 
Neill, W.T. (1971). The last of the ruling reptiles. Colombia Univ. Press, 

New York. 485 pp. 
Pernetta, J.C. (1982). In lltt. , March (comments on draft RDB account). 
Pernetta, J.C. and Burgin, S. (1980). Census of crocodile populations and 

their exploitation In the Purarl area. Purari River (Wabo) Hydroelectric 

Scheme. Environmental Studies Vol. 14. Office of Environment and 

Conservation, and Dept. of Minerals and Energy, PNG. 
Petocz, R. (1982). In lltt., 14 March (comments on draft RDB account). 
Schmidt, K.P. (1928). A new crocodile from New Guinea. Fieid Mus . Nat. Hist. 

Zool. Ser., Publ. 247, 12(14): 177-181. 
Webb, G.J.W. (in preparation 1981) A guide to the status, conservation and 

management of world crocodlllans . Report to Australian National Parks and 

Wildlife Service. 
Whitaker, R. (1980). Interim report on the status and biology of crocodiles 

In Papua New Guinea. Field Document No. 1, FAO Project PNG/74/029, 

Assistance to the Crocodile Skin Industry. Wildlife Division (Dept. of 

Lands and Environment) and FAO, Port Moresby. 
Whitaker, R. , Sukran, P., and Hartono, C. (1985). The crocodile resource In 

Irian Jaya. WWF/IUCN Report 12. P. 1528-Consultancy Report. WWF/IUCN 

Conservation for Development Programme in Indonesia. 
Wermuth, H. and Mertens, R. (1977). Testudines, Crocodylia, Rhynchocephalia. 

Das Tlerrelch 100: 1-174. Berlin, Walter de Gruyter. 



84 



ESTUARINE or SALTWATER CROCODILE 
Crocodylus porosus Schneider 1801 
Order CROCODYLIA 



Recommended list: 2 
[Possible problem] 



Family CROCODYLIDAK 



SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIOKS A widespread species, occurring from Sri Lanka, 
eastern India and Bangladesh, through coastal southeast Asia to the 
Philippines, Western Carolines, and south through Indonesia to Papua New 
Guinea and northern Australia, east to the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. 
Individuals have been recorded at sea and on land far beyond the breeding 
range. The largest extant crocodilian, reported to have attained around 9m 
length. Typically asssociated with brackish waters, such as coastal mangrove 
swamp-forest, but also extends to freshwater rivers and grass-swamp. Hales 
are sexually mature at around 3.2 m, 16 years, and females at 2.2 m, 10 
years. Clutch size 25-90 eggs, usually around 50. Very severely depleted, 
rare and declining through most of the range, adequate population levels are 
maintained in parts of north Australia and New Guinea. Listed as Endangered 
in the lUCN Red Data Boole. Listed in CITES Appendix I, except the populations 
in Australia, PNG and Indonesia which are listed on Appendix II. Depleted, 
and still threatened, by extensive hide-hunting and habitat destruction. 
Nominally protected by legislation through much of the range. Active research 
and management programmes are operating in Australia, India and Papua New 
Guinea. Breeds on a few commercial farms. The PNG rearing scheme is designed 
to improve rural economies by trade in sicins from hatchlings reared in 
captivity from wild-collected young, and conserve wild populations by 
decreasing indiscriminate hunting. A monitoring programme has been developed 
to determine the effect of the scheme on wild populations. 

The Australian porosus population was very severely depleted by hunting 
between 1945-1972. Expert opinion is divided over the status of this 
population; some workers believe a substantial recovery has taken place since 
protection of the species, with an estimated total population of 30 000-40 000 
representing 30-501 of pre-war levels though there is uncertainty of what 
these were, others believe that recovery is slight and assert that the species 
has no future in the country outside protected areas. Published data indicate 
a small rise in numbers in many waterways and an increase in the propoi'tion of 
large individuals. It seems likely, although this is disputed by some, that 
the Australian population can sustain the limited harvest neccessary for 
commercial ranching; ca 4350 porosus are currently held, with an projected 
1986 export of 470 skins. Monitoring in the Sepik River area of Papua New 
Guinea has indicated a progressive increase in nesting numbers, with 1985 
levels being 1601 of 1982 levels; it is suspected that this is an adequate 
reflection of the national situation. Present management and trade in ranched 
crocodiles, with a mean annual export of 3163 hides in 1980-1984, seems to be 
compatible with survival and recovery of the resource, providing that adults 
are strictly protected. 

The species appears to be severely depleted throughout its range in Indonesia, 
with the possible exception of parts of Irian Jaya, but even here a recent 
consultancy established that the species requires effective protection and 
rehabilitation before commercial ranching can be considered. There has been a 
small legal export from Indonesia in recent years but there is said to be a 
substantial illegal trade. Transfer of the Indonesian population from 
Appendix I to II was premature since there is no evidence that it can sustain 
the heavy illegal trade. A recent programme, set up with assistance from FAG, 
has attempted to bring the trade under control, but it is too early to say 
whether it has been effective. 



85 



Crocodylus porosus 

N.B. Appendix I and Appendix II populations are treated separately in the 
Distribution and Population sections of this account. 

DISTRIBUTION Crocodylus porosus has an extensive distribution in south 
and South East Asia, extending eastward into Melanesia. Basic distribution 
data are given below; see 'Population' section for further details. Breeding 
populations are highly localized within the overall range due to extreme 
depletion of the species in most areas and to habitat preferences (large 
rivers, estuaries, coastal and inland swamps). 

Although a specimen was obtained from southern China in 1912, in the vicinity 
of Hong Kong (Smith, 1931), there are no recent records; it is uncertain 
whether there was a breeding population ^t that time. Formerly present in 
Singapore, but there have been no resident porosus for over 30 years (King 
et al . , 1979) . 

Wandering individuals have been seen at sea and recorded from localities far 
outside the known breeding range, such as the Fiji Islands and Cocos-Keeling 
Islands. One 3.8-m male was found at Ponape in the eastern Caroline Islands, 
some 1360 km from the nearest population (Allen, 1974), and a specimen has 
been sighted at sea 480 km north of New Zealand's North Cape (Robb, 1980). 

Appendix I populations 

Bangladesh Formerly occurred in most rivers south of 23"15'N, throughout 
the Sunderbans and much of the Chittagong area in the east. By the early 
1950s all populations in Chittagong, the Meghna and Balleshwar estuaries and 
northern parts of the Sunderbans had disappeared (Khan, 1980) and the species 
is now restricted to southern parts of the Sunderbans. Preferred rivers 
(based on interviews with locals, not actual sightings) appear to be the 
Balleshwar, Bhola, Sela, Katka, Ambaria Ghat, other tributaries of the Pusur, 
Bhadra and part of the Sibsa between 22°N and 22''40'N (Khan. 1980). 

Brunei Present in coastal wetlands; no details available. 

Burma Mainly confined to the Irrawaddy Delta, but also present in Arakan, 
between Ramree Island and the mainland (Salter, 1983). 

Federated States of Micronesia Occasional strays have been reported from 
Pohnpei and Truk Islands which are considered to originate from New Guinea 
(USA CITES MA, 1987) . 

India Restricted to two sites on the mainland; the Sunderbans of West 
Bengal (in the north-east) and the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary in the 
Brahmani-Baiterani delta of Cuttack District, Orissa (northern sector of the 
east coast) . Formerly more widespread and present in suitable mangrove 
habitat at many parts of the east coast, extending to Kerala on the west 
coast. Also present in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. (Bustard and 
Choudhury, 1980; Whitaker and Daniel, 1978) 

Kampuchea Probably present formerly; no recent information. 

Malaysia Recorded from Peninsular Malaysia but now virtually extinct 
although formerly widespread and common (King et al . , 1979). Present in 
Sabah (Whitaker, 1984) and Sarawak (Proud, 1981 cited in Groombridge, 1982). 

Palau Islands [Belau] (U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands) 
Restricted to the Palau group in the western Caroline Islands (Allen, 1974). 



86 



Crocodylus potosus 

Philippines Present in the Cagayan River (draining north-east Luzon), 
Mindoro Oriental. Catanduanes, Palawan, and in seven provinces of Mindanao; 
probably more widespread formerly (Ross, 1984). 

Solomon Islands Present on most larger islands and many smaller islands in 
the group (McCoy, 1980). 

Sri Lanka The main breeding population is in the south-west wet zone, 
centred on the rivers draining into the formerly more extensive swampland 
stretching from Puttalam south to the tip of the island (Whitaker and 
Whitalcer, 1979). 

Thailand Probably extinct, the last confirmed record was from Ko Tarutao in 
Changwat Satun in 1971 (Bain and Humphrey, 1980). 

Vanuatu The main population was centred on the Sulphur River-Alligator 
River area, north of Port Patteson, on Vanua Lava in the Banks Islands group 
(Luders, 1983); this population now appears to be virtually extinct. Single 
individuals have been reported form Espiritu Santo and Malo. 

Viet Nan Reported to persist in the lower Mekong and Rung Sat Swamp (Nowak, 
1976). 

Appendix II populations 

Australia Present in coastal regions of the far north in western Australia, 
Northern Territory and Queensland (Cogger, 1979). 

Indonesia Populations are widespread although generally small and 

scattered. Recorded from the following areas, in approximate west to east 

order: Sumatra, Siberut, Java, Kalimantan, Lesser Sundas , Sulawesi, Moluccas, 
Irian Jaya, Timor. 

Papua New Guinea The species has been reported from all of Papua New 
Guinea's nine lowland provinces, also the island provinces of Manus , New 
Ireland, West and East New Britain, North Solomons, and Milne Bay 'includes 
portion of mainland) (Whitaker, 1980). Formerly widely distributed and common 
in the mangrove areas at the mouths of the Sepik and Fly, and around the Gulf 
of Papua, now largely absent from easily accessible areas and found more 
frequently in inland swamp habitat (Whitaker, 1980). Main centres are the 
swamps along the Sepik and Ramu rivers in the north, and swamps of the Fly 
River and other rivers draining into the Gulf of Papua in the south (Bolton, 
1978). On the Sepik River, the species occurs inland to the Irian Jaya 
border, although numbers decrease in relation to C. novaegulneae , and on the 
Fly porosus has been recorded 500 km from the sea (Whitaker, 1980). 



POPULATION Severely depleted and at risk almost throughout its range (King 
et aJ . , 1979). Adequate population levels are maintained in only a few 
localities, notably parts of northern Australia and parts of New Guinea (Irian 
Jaya and Papua New Guinea). 

Appendix I populations 

Bangladesh The current population, restricted to southern parts of the 
Sunderbans (but formerly extending from 23° 15' N throughout the Sunderbans 
and much of the Chittagong area), is estimated at fewer than 200 individuals 
in an area of c 780 sq. km out of the Sunderban area of 6000 sq. km (Khan, 



87 



Crocodylus porosus 

1980). This population is of considerable importance, it stands a good chance 
of surviving since it is within a protected reserve for Tiger Panthera 
tlgris and the Sunderbans area remains relatively hazardous and difficult of 
access for humans (Whitaker, 1981 cited in Groombridge, 1982). 

Brunei No detailed information available, scattered specimens are sometimes 
seen in the coastal mangrove and Nipa palm swamps. A 1978 report indicated a 
trade in young crocodiles, bought mostly by operators of commercial rearing 
stations (King et al . , 1979). 

Burma Only small isolated populations remain (Whitaker and Daniel, 1978). 
The main concentration, comprising c. 4000 individuals of all size classes 
spread over the entire Irrawaddy Delta, but mainly in the east, is depleted 
and decreasing (Caughley, 1981 cited in Groombridge, 1982). The Delta 
population was reportedly (King et al . , 1979) subject to heavy exploitation 
in the late 1970s following control of Karen insurgents in the area. The 
Arakan coast population also appears to have greatly declined since the early 
1960s, due to conversion of mangrove habitat to agriculture and to hunting 
(Salter, 1983). 

India Formerly extended from the Cochin area of Kerala on the west coast, 
southward around the tip of the peninsula, and northward along the east coast 
to the Sunderbans in West Bengal. Also present in the Union Territory of the 
Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Previously abundant wherever suitable habitat, 
preferably estuarine mangrove forest, occurred; now severely depleted and rare 
or extinct in most of its former range in India (Bustard and Choudhury, 
1980). Extinct in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh (a 3.2-m specimen 
captured January 1979 in the Krishna estuary in A. P. is thought to have been a 
wandering individual) (Bustard and Choudhury, 1980). The species persists at 
two localities on mainland India; in West Bengal, where a small number occur 
in the Sunderbans (Bustard and Choudhury, 1980; Kar, 1981 cited in 
Groombridge, 1982), and in Orissa, where the major mainland Indian population 
occurs in Bhi tarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary (Bustard and Choudhury, 1980; 
Daniel, 1980). The Sanctuary was founded on Kanika Island in the 
Brahmani-Baiterani delta area. The entire Bhitarkanika population comprises 
only 35 adult C. porosus, and at the end of 1976 there were in addition 61 
crocodiles of 1-1.4 m length, the hatchlings of the 1974 season. The young of 

1973 had virtually all disappeared by late 1975, and increased survival of the 

1974 cohort is attributed to the protection afforded by declaration of the 
area as a Sanctuary in 1975 (Bustard and Choudhury, 1980). The Bhitarkanika 
area is probably unique in that ten per cent of the adults in this protected 
population exceed 6 m in length (Bustard and Choudhury, 1980), and the largest 
male exceeds 7 m (23'-24') (Kar, 1981 cited in Groombridge, 1982). Such a 
high proportion of extremely large animals is unknown elsewhere. The species 
was said to be abundant in the first half of the present century in several 
islands of the Andaman and Nicobar groups (Choudhury and Bustard, 1979; 
Whitaker and Whitaker, 1978), but the populations here are now depleted 
(Bustard and Choudhury, 1980; Choudhury and Bustard, 1979; Whitaker and 
Whitaker, 1978). On North Andaman Island, probably the best remaining area 
for C. porosus in the Andaman group, a June-July 1978 survey suggested 
presence of 36 nesting females (Choudhury and Bustard, 1979). Other workers 
(Whitaker and Whitaker, 1978) provide the following approximate figures for 
breeding females, based on field surveys and interviews; North Andaman - 50, 
Middle Andaman - 20, South Andaman - 10. The total porosus population may 
be 170-330. Populations are reported to be healthy in the Nicobars (Whitaker 
and Whitaker, 1978), although no precise information is yet available. Human 
predation on eggs, killing of adults, and loss of habitat exert a continuing 
pressure on the Andaman-Nicobar populations (Choudhury and Bustard, 1979; 
Whitaker and Whitaker, 1978). 



88 



Crocodylus porosus 

Malaysia West Malaysia . uncommon and declining, considered essentially 
extinct (Bullock in King, 1973; King ec ai . , 1979; Scriven, 1972; Wycherley, 
1971), a few porosus may remain in Tasek Bera Lake and the Pahang River 
(King et aJ . , 1979). Sarawak Cox and Gombek (1985) surveyed several river 
systems and concluded that populations of C. porosus were as low as 0.054 
per km. Comparing this with similar habitats in PNG and northern Australia, 
they concluded that the species could be considered endangered, being 
seriously depleted to less than 1% of the estimated population levels before 
the advent of hunting. Sabah . becoming rare, reported extinct in much of the 
former range (source in King et aJ . , 1979). During 32 days of fieldwork in 
April-June 1983, 56 porosus were seen along the 1146 km of river surveyed. 
This suggests a very low density of 0.46 per km, in contrast to 4-12 per km in 
healthy populations. By extrapolation Sabah' s total population may be around 
2600 (Whitaker, 1984). 

Palau Islands IBelau) Reported to be still relatively common in the Palau 
group in the late 1970s (sources cited in Webb, 1978). A total of 300 
crocodiles were killed in a 1975 control programme, present status unknown. A 
recent report stated that some illegal hunting occurs; skins from such 
activities are exported to Japan. Overall, the population was thought to have 
not recovered since the control programme eradicated the larger animals and 
the population size was considered to be declining owing to habitat loss (USA 
CITES MA, 1987) . 

Philippines Considered threatened, although isolated and depleted 
populations persist. Present in the Cagayan River (draining north-east 
Luzon), Mindoro Oriental, Catanduanes, Palawan, and in seven provinces of 
Mindanao; probably more widespread formerly (Ross, 1984). Local populations 
were reported healthy in 1978 in Lake Danau, Camotes Island, along the north 
shore of Moro Gulf in Minadanao, perhaps in the Sulu Archipelago and Leyte 
(King et al . , 1979). However, more recent information (1981) indicates a 
marked decline; no crocodiles are now known *'.o survive on Camotes Island or in 
Lake Danau (Ross, 1982). 

Solomon Islands Declined in numbers since World War II, largely due to 
hide-hunting. Only an occasional individual is now encountered on the larger 
islands. A relatively large population, perhaps up to 300 individuals, occurs 
on one small island where nesting occurs regularly. The persistance of this 
population is attributed to the fact that crocodiles are sacred totemic 
animals to the local people (McCoy, 1981 cited in Groombridge, 1981). 

Sri Lanka The species appears to have been abundant around much of the 
coast until the early part of the 20th century, but is now severely depleted 
(Whitaker and Whitaker, 1978), and rapidly dwindling outside the two main 
National Parks (Whitaker, 1986). A recent estimate suggests around 250 
individuals (excluding first year hatchlings), with 25 breeding females, along 
the southwest coast, and 125 individuals, with 15 breeding females, in the 
rest of the island (Whitaker and Whitaker, 1978). The main breeding 
population is in the heavily populated south-west wet zone and is concentrated 
in remnants of formerly more extensive swampland, extending from Puttalam on 
the west coast, southward to the southern tip of the island (Whitaker and 
Whitaker, 1978). The best areas are centred around the main rivers draining 
into this coast, the Maha Oya, Kelani Ganga, Bentota Ganga, Gin Ganga and 
Nilwali Ganga (Whitaker and Whitaker, 1978). Breeding unconfirmed elsewhere 
(King et aJ . , 1979). Still present at some east coast sites where formerly 
more common e.g. Batticaloa lagoon (Whitaker and Whitaker, 1978). Also 
reported in the Mahaweli Ganga up to Mahiyangana (about 125 km inland) in the 
east, and within the Yala National Reserve (Hoffman, 1981 cited in 
Groombridge, 1982). Population in Sri Lanka continues to decline, chiefly due 
to habitat loss. The Mutharajavela swampland between Negombo and Colombo, a 

89 



Crocodylus porosus 

former main breeding site, is being cleared as it lies within a 'Free-Trade 
Zone* (Farook., 1980; King et al . , 1979; Whitalcer and Vfhitaker, 1978). A 
suitable reserve area will be necessary to ensure survival of C. porosus 
(Farook, 1980; Whitaker and fcfhitaker, 1978). 

Thailand Probably extinct (Bain and Humphrey, 1980), no more than ten 
adults may remain (King et al . , 1979), the last confirmed specimen came from 
the area of Ko Tarutao in Changwat Satun in 1971 with no confirmed sighting 
since (Bain and Humphrey, 1980). 

Vanuatu Single individuals have been reported during 1980-1981 from south 
Espiritu Santo and west Malo, but the main population appears to have been 
located in the Sulphur River-Alligator Riv^r area on Vanua Lava in the Banks 
Islands group (Dickinson, 1981). Local tradition is that this population is 
descended from a single colonizing female. Breeding appears to have occurred 
in the recent past since individuals of all sizes could be seen; the total 
population may have numbered around 200 (Luders, 1983). Hunting does occur 
sporadically; in 1973 a group of Solomon Islanders shot seven crocodiles for 
hides and a A. 8 m individual (maximum recorded length for Vanuatu) was shot by 
an Australian in 1980 (Dickinson, 1980, 1981 cited in Groombridge, 1982). 
This population appears to have become virtually extinct by 1983; this is 
attributed largely to the effects of the 1972 cyclone which, with associated 
flooding, caused massive destruction in the area (Luders, 1983). 

Viet Nam Status and distribution little-known. Reported to persist in the 
lower Mekong River and Rung Sat Swamp (Nowak, 1976) . Not recorded north of Ho 
Chi-Minh (Saigon) (Smith, 1931). 

Appendix II populations 

Australia Populations declined greatly during the 25 years following World 
War II due to extensive hunting for skins (Jenkins, 1979; Messel, 1977). The 
species may be responding to protection, although slowly (Messel and Vorlicek, 
1986), and may not be at risk while this is maintained (Webb et al . , 1984). 

The published body of data concerning the habitat, biology, numbers, and size 
distribution of C. porosus in various water bodies in northern Australia is 
vastly greater than for any other crocodilian, with the possible exception of 
the American Alligator. However, the interpretation of these data, in terms 
of population status and trends, remains controversial. 

In an overview of the major ten-year research programme undertaken by the 
University of Sydney, the scientists involved state that the C. porosus 
population "appears to be recovering at a very slow rate... it may take many 
decades to recover - if ever". Further, "we can realistically and 
unfortunately conclude only this about the saltwater crocodile's future: it 
has none" (Messel, et al . , Monograph 18 [Part 4, Abstract] in 1979-1984 
series; Messel and Vorlicek, 1986). 

On the other hand, in the Australian proposal to transfer its porosus 
population from Appendix I to Appendix II of CITES (documentation prepared by 
the Conservation Commission of the Northern Territory), it is stated that 
available data (including those from the University of Sydney) "provide 
unequivocal evidence of a population which has been increasing since 
protection: not one which is decreasing or threatened" (Webb et al . , 1984). 

This dichotomy of views, or at least of emphasis, persists in the estimate for 
the total C. porosus numbers in Australia. Messel et al . (1984) and 
Messel and Vorlicek (1986) state that their 1979 maximum figure of 15 500 
crocodiles over 3' in length was likely to apply also to the 1983 population. 

90 



Crocodylus porosus 

This estimate comprises 10 000 in Northern Territory; 2,500 in the Kimberley 
region of Western Australia; 3000 in northern Queensland. These figures are 
extrapolations from estimates based on actual surveys of a major proportion of 
the total length of tidal waterways in the Northern Territory but only a small 
proportion of the tidal waterways in Western Australia and Queensland. 
Freshwater swamps and other freshwater habitats remain inadequately surveyed. 
According to the Sydney team (Messel, 1981 cited in Groombridge, 1982; Messel 
et aJ . , 1979-198A), populations in the Northern Territory are slowly 
recovering in tidal waterways of northern Arnhem Land and the Alligator Rivers 
Region; populations from the Adelaide River westward to the Western Australian 
border are steady or still falling; populations in the Gulf of Carpentaria are 
at extinction levels with the exception of the Roper and Towns Rivers. In 
Western Australia, populations probably recovering very slowly in major 
sections of the Kimberley tidal waterways. Burbidge and Messel (1979) 
estimated that the total non-hatchling population in Western Australia was 
about 2000. Taplin (1987) reviewed the size of crocodile populations in 
Queensland, and concluded that some recovery of crocodile populations had 
occurred since protection was implemented, but that it was very difficult to 
quantify. The major populations of C. porosus occur in the Weipa area of 
north-western Cape York Peninsula. Messel et al . (in prep.) resurveyed this 
area in 1987 and concluded that there was good evidence of a slow population 
recovery since 1979. However they cautioned that human population pressures 
on crocodiles were very much greater on the aast side of the peninsula. 

Messel et al (1979-1984) and Messel and Vorlicek. (1985, 1986) provide 
abundant evidence of the highly dynamic nature of porosus populations in 
northern Australia; although a population model involving density-dependent 
mortality is consistent with this evidence, these authors play down the 
possible role of this factor in the present situation and stress instead their 
belief that major recovery in numbers and age-structure of porosus 
populations is a very long term process. 

Webb et al . (1984) estimate that at least 30 000 individuals, and probably 
closer to 40 000, remain in Northern Territory alone. This figure is in part 
an extrapolation based on the extent of suitable habitat, and appears to 
include hatchlings, or at least crocodiles up to 3' in length. These authors 
use data from the Blyth-Cadell Rivers system to exemplify the general Northern 
Territory trend. In this system there has been a 351 population increase 
since protection in 1972, and an increase in the proportion of large animals. 
Continuing recruitment, decreasing numbers of 3-5' crocodiles, and an 
increasing number of crocodiles of 6' and over, are consistent with the 
effects of density-dependent mortality. It may well be that this system is 
approaching its carrying capacity. Populations along much of the Northern 
Territory coast region are said to show similar trends, though usually sjith a 
greater proportional increase in total population size (Webb et al . , 1984). 

One likely cause of these differing interpretations is the uncertainty over 
the magnitude of decline suffered by porosus populations during the 27 years 
of concentrated hunting between 1945 and 1972 (when federal prohibition on 
import-export was implemented). While the present population has been 
estimated as a small fraction of the pre-hunting population, other authors 
argue that populations in the Northern Territory are 30-501 of pre-war levels 
(Webb et al . , 1984). This divergence of views, apparently caused in part by 
differing concepts of primordial population levels, is superimposed on that 
caused by differing approaches to the interpretation of raw survey data in 
terms of population levels and structures. 

However difficult it may be to fully reconcile the opposing views that have 
been expressed on the Australian porosus population, the evidence appears to 
indicate that some degree of population recovery has taken place in the the 

91 



Crocodylus porosus 

later 1970s and early 1980s, with a small observed increase in the number of 
non-hatchling crocodiles in some waterways, and, perhaps more importantly, a 
more general increase in the proportion of large animals (over 6" in length). 
Furthermore, the Sydney team, while generally talcing a more pessimistic view 
of the recovery prospects of C. porosus than other workers, now appears to 
agree (Messel and Vorlicek, 1986: 110) that crocodile farming should be 
encouraged, with eggs being removed from nests known to be flooded during 
January-March. Webb et al . (1987) provide a discussion of crocodile 
populations in Australia in relation to proposed exploitation and management. 

Indonesia Regional information available is as follows, in approximate west 
to east order. Sumatra , becoming rare everywhere but still present in most 
large rivers of the east coast (MacKinnon; 1981). Present in the Kluet area 
of Leuser ^fational Park in northern Sumatra, in general survival prospects are 
poor due to disturbance and diminishing habitat (Wind, 1981 cited in 
Groombridge, 1982). Siberut . formerly common but now depleted, due to hunting 
in the south at least. Presence of porosus is confirmed in part of the Bay 
of Tiop in the south, presence reported but as yet unconfirmed in estuaries 
and swamps in the uninhabited north-west (within Reserve area), including 
rivers Simarausau, Bolot, Tobakle, Torokatkat, Taio, Togilitte, Sinlingkle, 
Tamaerak, also lakes at Gobjib and Bolot (Mitchell, cited by MacKinnon, 
1981). Java , almost extinct, a few left in Ujung Kulon (MacKinnon, 1981), no 
confirmed reports in the last three years (up to 1981) from East Java and very 
few unconfirmed reports (Blouch, cited by MacKinnon, 1981). Kalimantan , 
becoming very rare (MacKinnon, 1981), a 1972 survey of 200 miles of the 
Mahakan River revealed only two adult porosus (King et al . , 1979). Lesser 
Sunda islands , rare (MacKinnon, 1981). Sulawesi , a few small surviving 
populations, e.g. Randangan estuary on North Peninsula (MacKinnon, 1981). 
Formerly coinmon at the mouths of the Sausu and Tambarana Rivers (Teluk Tomini) 
but no longer, following the increase in human population due to two large 
transmigration schemes; overall, rare in Sulawesi with poor survival prospects 
(Watling, cited by MacKinnon, 1981). Maluku (Moluccas), reported common in 
Aru (MacKinnon, 1981) also reported severely depleted here (King et al . , 
1979), still occurs in Wae Apu estuary on Buru, reported from Wahai near 
Pasahari on the north coast of Ceram, otherwise rare (MacKinnon, 1981). 
Timor , status unknown, breeding reported a decade ago on south coast (source 
cited in King et al . , 1979). Irian Jaya , scarce throughout its range in the 
province, although apparently more secure here than in other parts of 
Indonesia. Pulau Dolok, half of which is a Reserve, is a major stronghold 
(Lever, 1980). There is no evidence of any recovery after the 1980 ban on 
hunting and trade, and illegal skin exports continue (Whitaker et al . , 
1985). Of the current populations in Indonesia, that in Irian Jaya appears to 
have the greatest potential for recovery. Whitaker et al . (1985) 
recommended that conservation of this species should be given high priority in 
any management programme; indicating that adequate restoration of the 
population was necessary before it could be included in any ranching scheme. 
A subsequent study (Anon., 1986) concluded that the combined population of 
C. porosus and C. novaegulneae was around 2 596 800, but this result was 
questioned by Cox (1987), who estimated that there were around 63 000 
C. porosus in Irian Jaya. 

Papua New Guinea The species remains widespread, but is depleted throughout 
its accessible range due to heavy exploitation for hides in the 1950s and 
early 1960s (Bolton, 1978; King et al . , 1979). Although exploitation is 
less in remote areas, it is never negligible, and there is at present almost 
no locality that is not subject to some kind of hunting (Pernetta, 1982 cited 
in Groombridge, 1982). While formerly common in the mangrove areas at the 
mouths of the Sepik and Fly, and around the Gulf of Papua, it is now scarce 
and occurs more frequently in inland swamp habitat (Whitaker, 1980). Main 
centres are the swamps along the Sepik and Ramu rivers in the north, and 

92 



CrocodyJus porosus 

swamps of the Fly River and other rivers draining into the Gulf of Papua in 
the south (Bolton, 1978). On the Sepik River, the species occurs inland to 
the Irian Jaya border, although numbers decrease in relation to 
C. novaegulneae , and on the Fly porosus has been recorded 500 km from the 
sea (Whitaker, 1980). In the islands, C. porosus is extremely depleted on 
Nanus, New Ireland, somewhat depleted in North Solomons, sparse in East New 
Britain but more widespread and in greater numbers in West New Britain 
(Whitaker, 1979). 

An active rearing programme, aided until 1982 by FAG/UNDP, is in operation in 
Papua New Guinea. Wild-caught young are reared for their hides. A major aim 
is to expand rural economies while conserving wild crocodile populations. 
Early results from the monitoring scheme in PNG, a component of the crocodile 
management programme, indicate that both crocodile species in PNG are now 
increasing in numbers. While there has been a small decrease in the number of 
porosus nesting in lake fringe habitats, probably as a result of greater 
vulnerability to hunting and disturbance, there has been a substantial 
increase in numbers nesting in overgrown oxbows and channels, and other 
river-margin habitats. The overall trend has been upward, with the March 1985 
nesting index being 1601 of the baseline 1982 figure (Hollands, 198A, 1987). 
The Sepik area is suspected to be adequately representative of the national 
situation. One urgent requirement is to continue and extend the protection of 
breeding adults by decreasing the upper size limit of skins permitted in trade 
(20" belly width) and further curtailing the taking of adults from the wild. 

HABITAT AND ECOLOGY The largest extant crocodilian, C. porosus is 
dubiously reported to have attained around 9 m (30 feet) in length (Taylor, 
1979) (based on a probably erroneous extrapolation from length of a preserved 
skull (Lang, 1981 cited in Groombridge, 1982)). The greatest authenticated 
length in recent years is 6.2 m (20'4") recorded on a male drowned in a 
barramundi net in the Fly River near Obo, Papua New Guinea (Whitaker, 1980); 
however, a very large skull preserved by the Raja of Kanika, Orissa, belonged 
to an individual estimated to have been around 7 m (23*) in length (Daniel, 
1980; Daniel and Hussain, 1976), and it is reported that the largest male in 
the Bhitarkanika area at present exceeds 7 m in length (Kar, 1981 cited in 
Groombridge, 1982). 

The species typically occurs in brackish waters, inhabiting large river 
estuaries and deltas with associated coastal mangrove swamp-forest, but also 
extends into deep rivers far above tidal influence, also freshwater pools and 
swamps (Bustard and Choudhury, 1981; Smith, 1931; Webb, 1977). Through much 
of its range C. porosus is now mainly restricted to the mangrove system, in 
India for example, the remaining porosus populations occur only in this 
habitat (Bustard and Choudhury, 1981; Daniel, 1980). The same applies to 
populations in southeast Asia and Indonesia. In the Andamans C. porosus 
occurs in coastal streams, with mangroves, notably Rhlzopbora mucronaca and 
R. aplculata, and Bruglera, giving way inland to cane brakes with 
Calamus and creeping cane, and semi-evergreen or evergreen riverine forest, 
with bamboo and scattered trees of Dlpterocarpus , Planchorla and Plnsonia 
(Choudhury and Bustard, 1979). 

However, while in Papua New Guinea the species has been typically associated 
with coastal mangrove, nipa and sago swamp, in some areas it is now more 
common in inland grass-swamp, and in the island provinces is most often found 
in inland lakes (even upland crater lakes and hill streams) (Whitaker, 1980). 
In Australia many C. porosus occur in tidal reaches with mangrove 
vegetation, and also occur in adjacent floodplain billabongs and spring-fed 
swamps which tend to be dominated by Paperbark Melaleuca and Pandanus palm, 
with a variety of sedges, grasses and vines. They may also extend 150 km 
upstream into freshwater non-tidal areas, and are well established in coastal 

93 



Crocodijlus porosus 

freshwater swamps with floating mats of vegetation (including Phragmltes, 
Typha and Cyclasaurus fern) (Webb, 1977; Webb, 1981 cited in Groombridge, 
1982). As in Papua New Guinea, the present distribution of porosus and 
nesting activity through these habitats partly reflects differential hunting 
pressure before protective legislation (Magnusson et al . , 1978), as well as 
location of optimum nest sites. Hunting is easiest when crocodiles are 
exposed on mudflats of coastal mangrove. 

C. porosus appears to be a largely opportunistic feeder, and the nature and 
size of the prey taken varies with age and habitat (Taylor, 1979; Webb, 
1977). Feeding occurs during the day and night, when food is available, and 
on both ebb and flood tides in tidal regions. They are mainly shallow water 
or water-edge feeders. Crustaceans and insects comprise most of the diet of 
hatchlings and juveniles, mainly grapsid crabs of the subfamily Sesarminae and 
Palaemonid shrimps of the genus Macrobrachlum (Taylor, 1979). Crustacea and 
insects are also the main diet of subadults in the India-Burma region (Smith, 
1931), the stomach of a 2.5 m individual from the Irrawaddy was packed with 
crabs (Smith, 1931). Juveniles feed mainly along the water's edge and among 
mangroves at high tides. Larger juveniles, over 1.2 m length, take an 
increasing proportion of vertebrate prey (Taylor, 1979; Webb, 1977). Food 
items recorded include sharks, archer fish, barramundi, pop-eye mullet, 
mullet, mudskippers, white-bellied mangrove snakes, cormorants and magpie 
geese (Messel, 1981 cited in Groombridge, 1982; Messel et al . , 1979-1984). 
As size increases an individual becomes able to deal with progressively larger 
prey, including sharks, turtles, cattle, horses and humans. Large crocodiles 
may be cannibalistic and will take porosus hatchlings and small juveniles 
(Messel, 1981 cited in Groombridge, 1982; Messel et al . , 1979-1984). 

Sexual maturity appears to be attained at around 3.2 m, 16 years, in males and 
2.2 m, 10 years in females (Webb et al . , 1978). The grouping behaviour 
shown by hatchlings is lost at about 8 months and territorial behaviour begins 
at about 2.5 years, several years before first breeding. The time of nesting 
varies between localities through the extensive range of the species, but 
often coincides to some extent with the annual wet season (Lang, 1980; Webb, 
1977; Webb et al . , 1977). Nesting may be spread over a 3-5 month period and 
females at a given locality nest asynchronously (Lang, 1980). In Papua New 
Guinea (Whitaker, 1979), nesting occurs in September-January (or into March), 
and begins with or before the rains. This timing may indicate hatchling 
requirements for shelter, food, and fresh water (in tidal areas), all of which 
are enhanced by the first rains (Lang, 1980; Whitaker, 1979). Nesting is in 
April-September in northeast India and the Andamans (here coincident with the 
onset of the southwest monsoon (Choudhury and Bustard, 1979). In Australia 
nesting occurs mainly in the wet season; the first nests are made in 
October/November and the majority of nests are made in January/February. 
However, sporadic nesting occurs at least until August, and may occur 
throughout the year in suitable habitat (Jenkins, 1981 cited in Groombridge, 
1982). Minor peaks in nesting may correspond with falling flood levels in 
tidal areas, but in freshwater swamps such late nests are often next to (and 
in one case on top of) an earlier nest strongly suggesting multiple nesting 
from the one female (Webb, 1981 cited in Groombridge, 1982). On the west 
coast of Sri Lanka nesting takes place in July-August (Deraniyagala, 1939), 
the height of the monsoon season (Whitaker, 1981 cited in Groombridge, 1982). 

A mound nesting species, the nest may be constructed from a variety of 
vegetable debris. Along the tidal rivers of northern Australia nests are 
sited in adjacent freshwater swamps in downstream areas, and at the riverside 
or the edge of flood plain billabongs further upstream (Webb, 1977). In some 
coastal swamps almost all nests are constructed on floating mats of vegetation 
(Webb, 1981 cited in Groombridge, 1982). 



94 



Crocodylus porosus 

The clutch comprises 25-90 eggs, but samples of nests in north Australia (Webb 
et aJ . , 1977) and in the Andamans (Choudhury and Bustard, 1979) showed 
remarkably similar mean clutch sizes of 50 and 51 respectively, range 40-62 
(18 nests) and 42-67 (6 nests). Incubation period is 80-90 days (56,65) 
although this can be greatly extended in low temperatures (Webb, 1981 cited in 
Groombridge, 1982). 

The female apparently remains near the nest for much of the incubation period, 
and on bank, nests is often in one of the one to four wallows typically found 
immediately adjacent to the nest. Males appear to take no part in the nesting 
processs (Webb et aJ . , 1977). The female in captivity, and apparently in 
some areas in the wild (Shelford, 1916; Bustard and Kar, 1980), becomes 
aggressive during this phase and actively deters intruders, including other 
female C. porosus (Lang, 1980). This behaviour means that nest-guarding 
females are highly vulnerable to human hunters, and it has been suggested that 
the trait is now less frequently shown in wild populations (Bustard and 
Choudhury, 1980). Males in captivity also defend territories throughout the 
year (Lang, 1980). The female does not attend the nest continually for the 
entire incubation period, but frequently leaves it for short intervals 
(Bustard and Choudhury, 1980). She assists the hatchlings by opening the 
nest, probing with the snout and digging with fore and hind limbs, in response 
to their calling within (Lang, 1980; Webb et al . , 1977). Females are also 
reliably recorded (Bustard and Choudhury, 1980) to gather hatchlings in the 
throat pouch in times of danger, and probably to carry them in this way from 
the nest to water. At least some adult C. porosus remain in the water with 
grouped hatchlings for around two months (Webb et aJ . , 1977), in Arnhem Land 
rivers (Australia) for exajiiple, but creche formation appears not to be 
universal in Australia and may vary with river type and parental age (Hessel 
et al . , 1979-1984, Monograph 1). 

A high proportion of nests are lost due to various factors. In north 
Australia egg predation, mainly by Monitor Lizards Varanus spp. and humans, 
is minimal but losses due to flooding are extremely high. It is estimated 
that in the four year period up to 1977 over 90% of nests in areas studied 
were destroyed by flooding (Webb, 1977; Webb et al . , 1977). By contrast in 
the Andamans of 30 nests found, 28 were destroyed by predators (human 
predation - 22 nests. Monitor lizard - 2, wild pigs - 2) and only 1 was 
flooded (Choudhury and Bustard, 1979). There is a possibility that some 
females nest more than once in a year (Messel, 1981 cited in Groombridge, 
1982). In a captive breeding colony in Papua New Guinea (Lang, 1980) only one 
clutch was laid per season. 

Adult crocodiles appear to tolerate hatchlings, and small crocodiles up to 
3-4* in length in their vicinity, but not larger crocodiles in the same size 
class as themselves or the next smaller size class. It is stated (Messel et 
al . , 1979-1984) that this single factor is of critical significance, and 
alone largely determines the dynamics of C. porosus populations. Once a 
crocodile reaches the 3-4' (.93-1. 24m) and 4-5' (1.24-1. 55m) size classes, it 
is likely to be challenged increasingly by crocodiles near its own size and in 
the larger size classes and be excluded from the area it was able to occupy 
when it was smaller. A substantial fraction (80X) of the 3-6' (.95-1. 86m) 
sized crocodiles may thus be excluded from the river or be predated upon by 
larger crocodiles. The overall numbers missing, presumed dead, remain high 
and appear to be some 60-70%. 

THREATS TO SURVIVAL The drastic depletion of C. porosus throughout its 
range is attributed to commercial hide hunting (see below), a second factor is 
widespread loss of habitat; general animosity to the specios and local use for 
food are factors of minor or local importance. 

95 



Crocodylus potosus 

Habitat loss appears to reduce the recovery prospects of populations already 
depleted by hunting, and has been more severe in India than in most other 
areas of the range (Bustard and Choudhury, 1981). The coastal mangrove 
habitat, with which C. porosus is particularly associated, is a highly 
vulnerable system: such areas have very high soil fertility when reclaimed, 
and are often, as in India, accorded low management priority as their 
intrinsic economic and ecological value is not appreciated (Bustard and 
Choudhury, 1981). Similarly, coastal swamps, including mangrove, in Sri Lanlca 
have been widely cleared and drained for use as agricultural or building land; 
this habitat loss is continuing (Farook, 1980; Whitaker and Vfhitaker, 1978). 
Habitat loss is the primary current threat in the Philippines, caused by 
expanding agriculture and aguaculture schemes (Ross, 1981). 

In Australia the overall (Messel, 1981 cited in Groombridge, 1982; Messel et 
al . , 1979-1984) recovery of C. porosus could be halted or reversed by two 
main factors. Firstly, C. porosus nesting habitat on Northern Territory 
waterways is very vulnerable to destruction by trampling by feral water 
buffaloes Buballs bubalus . The destruction of riverine and swamp habitat by 
these animals can be extreme and on rivers such as the South Alligator was 
reportedly almost complete by the late 1970s. The anchorage of floating mats 
of vegetation is broken down so that the whole mat drifts away in the wet 
season (Webb, 1981 cited in Groombridge, 1982). On Adelaide and Daly Rivers, 
Murgenella Creek, the East Alligator, West Alligator and Wildnan Rivers the 
habitat has also been extensively destroyed; however, the last three of these 
(and the South Alligator River) are now within Kakadu National Park, which is 
subject to an intensive campaign to control Water Buffaloes. Elsewhere, the 
continued presence of these animals poses a severe threat to the long-term 
recovery of C. porosus populations. The second important factor is the 
toleration of net fishing for barramundi well upstream of tidal river mouths 
and often right up into the breeding areas (Messel et ai . , 1979-1984; 
Jenkins, 1980). This is done legally and often illegally; it has been 
suggested that this is leading to marked depletion of stocks of barramundi and 
of C. porosus (Messel et aJ . , 1979-1984). In one river 23 large 
C. porosus were found drowned in barramundi fishermen's nets within a two 
week period and a considerable number of large specimens are probably drowned 
annually (Messel et al . , 1981). It is alleged (Messel et al . , 1981) that 
no effective action is being taken to counter this. It is often observed that 
rivers with large C. porosus populations also produce good commercial 
catches of barramundi, and it may be that the crocodile is beneficial- to 
barramundi populations, perhaps by eating large numbers of predatory fishes 
(such as catfish) that would otherwise consume small barramundi (Jenkins, 
1980) . 

Another factor is that general animosity toward crocodiles is often directed 
against C. porosus due to its large size, often aggressive behaviour if 
encountered near a nest, and tendancy to eat humans on occasion. This factor 
is likely to assume increasing importance where recovery of C. porosus 
populations is occuring (Webb, 1981 cited in Groombridge, 1982; Jenkins, 
1980). Proud (1981 cited in Groombridge, 1982) reported that the few large 
individuals in the Rejang river, Sarawak, had been trapped due to man-eating 
habits, the local authority at Sibu offering a bounty for each specimen killed. 

The species is sometimes used for food, for example eggs are heavily-collected 
in the Andamans (Choudhury and Bustard, 1979), or its parts used medicinally 
(Bustard and Choudhury, 1981). Eggs and meat are consumed in Papua New Guinea 
(Lever, 1982 cited in Groombridge, 1982). 

C. porosus has been very extensively hunted for the leather trade; this has 
undoubtedly been the major factor In Its decline (King et al . , 1979). 



96 



Crocodylus porosus 

The hide of porosus yields the finest quality leather due to the small scute 
size and lack, of bony osteoderms in the belly skin, resulting in a relatively 
large area of attractive, flexible, and commercially useable hide from any 
given skin (King and Brazaitis, 1971; Whitaker, 1979; Lever, 1982 cited in 
Groombridge, 1982). 

Hide-hunting, carried out both by local people and by expatriates armed with 
high-velocity rifles and often with motor boats, was on a particularly large 
scale in the 1950s and 1960s. In this period there was a rapid worldwide 
increase in the price of reptile leather and it is estimated that hundreds of 
thousands of C. porosus were killed annually (Neill, 1971). In Papua New 
Guinea the estuarine and delta zones were mainly exhausted by the early 1950s 
(Whitaker, 1979). In Irian Jaya, and elsewhere, C. porosus occurred mainly 
in these readily-accessible areas and was thus the first crocodilian species 
to be over-exploited (Lever, 1980). Selective hunting for large crocodiles 
has resulted in a severe reduction in the breeding population and continued 
hunting has resulted in minimal recruitment into the population, although, in 
PNG at least, the larger crocodiles are* not at present the most valuable 
commercially (Lever, 1980; Lever, 1982 cited in Groombridge, 1982; Whitaker, 
1981 cited in Groombridge, 1982). Legislation in PNG (see below) forbids the 
sale of skins having a belly width of more than 20" (51 cm). Dixon et al . 
(in press) examined the sizes of skins imported by various skin dealers to 
Japan, and found that those from PNG varied in mean width from 17.8 cm in 1977 
to 27.6 cm in 1984. In no year was the maximum skin size greater than 51 cm, 
indicating that the regulations in PNG are largely being adhered to. However 
the skins of C. porosus from Indonesia were much larger, varying in mean 
width from 46.4 cm in 1977 to 48.8 cm in 1984. The maximum skin size was 
119.4 cm for a skin imported in 1984. This demonstrates that the hide hunting 
in Indonesia relies to a greater extent on the mature breeding adults, and is 
therefore far more damaging to the population recovery. 

Collection of eggs and young for 'farm' repring to marketable size poses a 
further threat to the species, when this is not accompanied by a suitable 
management programme. Several rearing farms operate in Indonesia (in Irian 
Jaya, Kalimantan and Java), dependant on eggs and young taken from wild 
populations (King et aJ . , 1979). In Kalimantan, for example, as the 
subadult and adult population became depleted to commercial exhaustion by hide 
hunting, pressure switched to eggs and young to be sold to rearing farms; most 
farms were closed by the mid-1970s as eggs and young could no longer be 
readily obtained (King et al . , 1979). 

INTERNATIONAL TRADE There has been a steep decline in total world trade 
volume of C. porosus skins during the 1970s, from 100 000 per year to 20 000 
per year, with prices rising at the same time (King et al . , 1979). Hovyever, 
demand for porosus hide continues and several commercial operations attempt 
to meet this, either through large-scale captive breeding (as at Samut Prakan) 
or through captive rearing, whereby hatchlings are taken from the wild and 
reared in captivity to a suitable size (Luxmoore et al . , 1985). 

Minimum net trade in skins of C. porosus reported to CITES is shown in Table 
1. Of the three regional populations now listed on Appendix II of CITES, that 
of Papua New Guinea has been so listed since 1979. Australia and Indonesia 
have been on Appendix I until 1985 when both were transferred to Appendix II. 
There has been no legal trade from Australia apart from a few skins exported 
in 1980, 1984 and 1985: the first exports from Australian farms. The number 
of skins reported to have originated in PNG (Table 2) shows fairly poor 



97 



Crocodylus porosus 

Table 1 Minimum net imports of skins of C. porosus reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Austria 


17 


181 




155 


287 




240 


_ 


Australia 


- 


- 




- 


33 




- 


- 


Canada 


- 


- 




- 


1 




- 


- 


France 


- 


_ 




- 


- 




1392 


2331 




_ 


_ 




_ 


_ 




14 m 


351 m 


Germany, F.R. 


248 


11327 




501 , 


490 




29 


3 


Hong Kong 


35 


738 




- 


- 




1 


1 




10 m 


- 




- 


- 




- 


- 


Italy 


890 


2341 




423 


389 




- 


- 




- 


66 


kg 


- 


- 




- 


- 


Japan 


73 


- 




109 


2050 




2538 


2414 


Korea 


9 


- 




- 


25 




- 


- 


Malaysia 


- 


60 




- 


- 




- 


- 


Mexico 


- 


- 




- 


4 


k6 


- 


- 


PNG 


- 


1 




~ 


- 




- 


_ 


Singapore 


7 


- 




100 


371 




300 


231 


Spain 


20 


- 




- 


- 




- 


- 


Switzerland 


2003 


551 




772 


1717 




1044 


216 


Turkey 


- 


- 




- 


1 




- 


- 


UK 


89 


130 




57 


34 




- 


362 


USA 


- 


- 




- 


- 




10 


- 


Total 


3391 


5134 




2117 


5398 




5553 


5758 




10 m 


66 


leg 


- 


4 


kg 


16 m 


351 m 



correlation with those elsewhere reported to have been exported (Table 3), due 
partially to the fact that PNG did not submit annual reports to CITES in 1981 
or 1982. Indonesia has recorded an annual mean of 487 skins in 1980-1985, but 
there is apparently a substantial illegal trade (Luxmoore, 1986; Whitaker et 
aJ . , 1985; Anon., 1987); it is very likely that the large numbers of skins in 
reported trade with country of origin listed as Singapore or 'Unknown' also in 
fact originated in Indonesia. The number of skins said to have originated in 
Indonesia in Table 2 gives a very poor indication of the true volume of the 
trade, and this subject was examined in detail by Luxmoore (1986). Lever 
(1980) considered that about 10 000 skins were exported annually from Irian 
Jaya, around 10% of these being C. poTosus . Dixon et ai . (in press) 
examined the records of skin dealers in Japan and estimated the total numbers 
of skins of C. porosus imported into Japan directly from Indonesia and via 
Singapore to be 78, 1121, 1820, 1188, 1070, 207, 310 and 1402 in the eight 
years from 1977 to 1984 respectively. Similar imports from PNG over the same 
peiod were estimated at 1278, 3094, 3603, 3217, 2481, 2062, 2263 and 3436. 
However they pointed out that independant evidence from Japanese Customs 
import records indicated that the figures supplied by the dealers only 
accounted for between 5 and 48% of the total amount of crocodile skins 
imported from Indonesia over this period. Correlation between the dealers' 
and Customs data was much better for imports from Papua New Guinea (over 
70%). If the imports from Indonesia are increased proportionately to take 
account of this discrepancy, they would vary from 1635 in 1977 to 2951 in 1984. 



98 



Crocodylus porosus 

Table 2 Reported countries of origin (or exporting country if no origin 
reported) and quantities of transactions in skins of C. porosus reported to 
CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Countries having wild populations of C. porosus. 



Australia 


35 


- 




- 


_ 




100 


98 


Indones ia 


- 


1160 




126 


345 




200 


1094 


Malaysia 


- 


186 




- 


56 




_ 


_ 


PNG 


1803 


3147 




651 


6315 




6538 


4266 




10 ID 


66 


kg 


- 


4 


leg 


15 m 


351 ID 


Singapore 


1233 


2504 




606 


3 




74 


74 


Thailand 


- 


- 




- 


_ 




_ 


300 



Countries without wild populations of C. porosus. 



Canada 


- 


- 


France 


1938 


1084 


Unknown 


1205 


2841 



1470 



537 



3 
46 



Table 3: PNG exports according to Department cf Primary Industry figures 
(Hollands, 1987). 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



5797 



4281 



4853 



3456 



5145 



There seems little doubt that the Australian population can withstand the 
moderate exploitation necessary for the planned ranching programme in Northern 
Territory (Webb et al . , 1985). The large numbers exported from PNG perhaps 
give some cause for concern, but harvesting does seem compatible with 
continued population recovery, given the clear evidence for the latter in the 
Sepik region (Hollands, 1984; 1987). On the contrary, the evidence for 
widespread and continued depletion of C. porosus in Indonesia, combined with 
reports of substantial illegal trade, suggest that harvesting here is not 
likely to allow any population recovery until appropriate management has been 
implemented (Whitaker et al . , 1985). Since 1985, a new management programme 
has been initiated with the assistance of FAQ, but it is too early to say 
whether it has been effective. 

CONSERVATION MEASURES Listed on CITES Appendix I with the exception of 
populations in Australia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, which are listed on 
Appendix II. Reservations with regard to Appendix I listing are held by Japan 
and Austria (reservations held by EEC countries. Italy and France, were 
withdrawn on 1 January 1984, and by Thailand on 17 August 1987). The 
protective legislation covering C. porosus through much of the range appears 
to be poorly enforced in most countries and with a continued demand for 
porosus hides, long-term survival of the species may depend on provision of 
strictly protected reserves, coupled with evolution of adequate management 
strategies where utilization is to continue. 

99 



Crocodylus porosus 

The species is not protected in Burma, Palau Islands [Belau], Philippines, 
Thailand, Vanuatu. No information countries not listed below. 

Australia Nominally protected by legislation in Australia (Western 
Australia, 1969; Northern Territory, 1971; Queensland, 1974) (Webb et al . , 
1985). The Australian population of C. pozosus was transferred from 
Appendix I to II in 1985 under the provisions of CITES Resolution Conf. 3.15 
on ranching. 

The species occurs in reserve areas in Australia, such as the Ord River Nature 
Reserve in Western Australia (A. A. Burbidge, In lltt., 5 February 1981) and 
a sizeable population exists in the 20 000 sq lun Kakadu National Park in 
Northern Territory (Jenkins, 1979); this park now includes much of the East, 
South and West Alligator River systems and the Wildman River system (including 
the downstream reaches of all four) and is subject to an intensive campaign to 
control Water Buffalo. 

Bangladesh Listed on Schedule 3 of the Wildlife (Preservation) (Amendment) 
Act, 1973, crocodiles may not be hunted, killed or captured. C. porosus 
occurs within the Sunderbans Tiger reserve. 

India All crocodilians are listed in Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection 
Act, 1972, which confers the highest order of protection, but all states had 
to ratify the Act individually, and Kashmir and Assam had still not ratified 
the Act ten years later (Whitaker, 1987). The Government of India/FAO/UNDP 
Crocodile Breeding and Management Project has resulted in important 
conservation action. This scheme was initiated in 1975 with the dual aim of 
rehabilitating, depleted wild populations of India's three crocodilian 
species, and allowing the possibility of sustained utilization of wild or 
farmed crocodiles (Jayal, 1980; Saharia, 1981). The State Government of 
Orissa declared the entire remaining mangrove forest of the Brahmini-Baitarani 
delta (Bhitarkanika) , comprising 176 sq. km, a sanctuary in May 1975. Fishing 
(a cover for crocodile poaching) was banned in the area in the same month, and 
felling of mangroves ceased in 1976. Eggs are collected from natural nests, 
incubated in captivity and the hatchlings reared to a size of 1 metre (Bustard 
and Choudhury, 1980). Other centres were set up at Port Blair, Andaman 
Islands, and the Sunderbans Tiger Reserve. A total of 408 C. porosus had 
been released up to 1984 (Whitaker, 1987). The species was extinct in Andhra 
Pradesh but the sanctuary was declared in July 1978 with the aim of 
re-establishing C. porosus, using hatchlings captive reared at Hyderabad 
from eggs from the Andaman Islands (Bustard and Choudhury, 1980). 

Indonesia Nominally protected to some extent by legislation in Irian Jaya. 
The species is listed as protected in Irian Jaya (Law No 716/Kpts/Um/10/1980) , 
in which hunting, except for capture for ranching purposes, is prohibited. 
Since November 1986, only processed skins may be exported. The Indonesian 
population of C. porosus was transferred from Appendix I to II in 1985, 
subject to an annual export quota of 2000 skins under the provisions of CITES 
Resolution Conf. 5.21. The quota was increased to 4000 in 1987. 

Despite legal protection, illegal trade in crocodile skins from Irian Jaya is 
proceeding at an alarming rate; and illegal exports exceed by a large margin 
those officially authorised (Lever, 1980; Whitaker et al . , 1985; Luxmoore, 
1986; Cox 1987; Anon., 1987; Dixon et al . , in press). 

A management project, funded by FAG, has been initiated which hopes to 
establish a controlled harvest and ranching programme similar to that 
operating in neighbouring PNG (Cox, 1987). At the 6th meeting of the 
Conference to the Parties to CITES in 1987, an agreement was reached with the 
Japanese CITES Management Authority that all imports of crocodile skins from 

100 



Crocodylus porosus 

Indonesia should be verified with the Indonesian Management Authority before 
they were allowed into Japan. Singapore, the other main importer, did not 
give such an undertalcing. 

C. porosus occurs in reserves on Siberut, Sumatra (Leuser Nat. Park) and 
Irian Jaya. Pulau Dolok Game Reserve is probably the most important crocodile 
area in Irian Jaya in that it provides good habitat for C. porosus, the 
rarer of the two Irian Jaya crocodiles (Lever, 1980). 

Malaysia Sabah Crocodiles are on Schedule 1 of the Fauna Conservation 
Ordinance of 1963 (Amendment of 1 November 1982). They may only be killed in 
self-defence or under special permit for scientific purposes (Whitaker, 
1984). Small populations may occur in Klias N.P. and in Crocker Range N.P. in 
Sabah (King et ai . , 1979). Not protected in Sarawak. 

Papua New Guinea The two indigenous crocodilians , C. porosus and 
C. novaegulneae, are utilized in a FAO/UNDP-aided scheme (FAO involvement 
ended 1982) whereby hatchlings are taken from the wild, reared in ranches. 
Hunting of wild animals is also allowed. It is claimed that the scheme not 
only maintains rural economies and counters urban drift, but also conserves 
wild crocodile populations since the hatchlings collected are considered a 
harvestable surplus and recruitment into the breeding segment, itself 
untouched, is able to continue. It appears that this programme has been 
relatively successful in managing the crocodile harvest. Populations of both 
C. novaegulneae and C. porosus have increased in thr Sepik River area. 
Crocodile management is controlled by the Crocodile Trade Ordinance, 1966 and 
the Crocodile Trade (Protection) Act. Hunting may only be carried out by 
land-owners or with their permission, but beyond that hunting is unregulated. 
Control is achieved by licensing those who wish to trade in skins. The 
selling of skins having a belly width greater than 20" (51 cm) or of less than 
7" (18 cm) is prohibited. Smaller animals may be caught and traded live for 
sale to ranches, but they may not be killed for skin trade. All exports must 
be licensed (Hollands, 1987). The Japanese skin importers report that the 
great majority of skins from PNG fall within the legal size limits (Dixon et 
aJ . , in press), which indicates that there is little unregulated trade. 

Sri Lanka Listed in Schedule IV of the Fauna and Flora Protection 
Ordinance, Ammendment. No. 44, November 1964, crocodiles may only be killed 
under special permit issued by the warden. Occurs in Yala and Wilpatu 
National Parks (Whitaker, 1986). 

Thailand Not protected. Much former habitat near Ko Turutao in Thailand is 
within Turutao Marine National Park (Bain and Humphrey, 1980). 

CAPTIVE BREEDING Breeds in ceptivity in suitable conditions, but few zoos 
keep adult pairs (Honegger, 1979). The species is currently being bred at the 
Samut Prakan commercial crocodile farm near Bangkok, Thailand, where about 
1755 C. porosus were held in 1984 and a number of hybrids with 
C. slanensls (Luxmoore et al . , 1985). Animals are killed for their akin 
at around three years of age, and the meat is also sold. In 1979 it appeared 
(Lang, 1981 cited in Groombridge, 1982) that most Crocodylus breeding at 
Samut Prakan involved C. slamensls, and there was little or no C. porosus 
breeding. There is an experimental crocodile farm at Edwards River, 
Queensland, Australia, which was started in 1973, but which did not export its 
first commercial quantity of skins until 1985. There are three ranches in the 
Northern Territory, which take primarily eggs collected from the wild, and had 
a total stock of 2849 C. porosus in 1985. Most of the farms currently 
rearing C. porosus in PNG and Indonesia depend for their stock on hatchlings 
captured in the wild and there is little if any captive breeding. There are 
in the region of 11 farms operating in PNG, but the great majority of the 

101 



a 



Crocodylus porosus 

stock is held in only two large conmercial farms. In 1983 the stock of 
C. porosus was estimated to be 9 000 (Luxmoore, et ai . , 1985). The 
percentage of skins exported by the farms was small until 1983 but increased 
to around 501 of the wild harvest in 1984 (Hollands, 1987). There are 
currently 21 ranches in Indonesia which have a capacity of 20-30 000 head. 
The total stock of C. porosus was 5703 in 1987. It is estimated that annual 
production from these farms could rise to 15-20 000 in the next three years, 
of which 251t would be C. porosus. There is currently no captive-breeding, 
though this is planned (Anon., 1987). A ranching operation was established in 
Burma in 1978, taking eggs from the wild (Luxmoore et ai . , 1985). It was 
reported to have a stock of around 1000 C. porosus in 1987, with an annual 
turnover of 300-500 crocodiles (S. Agarwal, in lltt. to B. Bunting, 29 July 
1987). Some farms in Singapore are keeping C. porosus; breeding prograinmes 
have been initiated (Luxmoore et al . , 1985), and have met with some success 
(Cox and Gombek, 1985). A farm at Kuching, Sarawak is reported to have been 
breeding C. porosus regularly since 1980, 38 clutches being produced up to 
October 1985 (Cox and Gombek, 1985). A large facility has recently been set 
up in the Philippines with the intention of breeding C. porosus (J.L. Diaz, 
in Jitt., 8 December, 1986). 

REFERENCES 

Allen, G.R. (1974). The marine crocodile, Crocodylus porosus from Ponape, 

Eastern Caroline Islands with notes on the food habits of crocodiles from 

the Palau Achipelago. Copela 1974: 553. 
Anon. (1986). Feasibility study of the crocodile skin industry in Irian Jaya, 

prepared by the Forestry District Office, Irian Jaya and the Faculty of 

Forestry, Bogor. Summary translation by A. Mitchell and A. Pugu. 
Anon. (1987). Maintenance of the Indonesian population of Crocodylus 

porosus in Appendix II, with an increase in export quota to 4000 hides 

per annum. Proposal submitted by the Republic of Indonesia to the 6th 

meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES. 
Bain, J.R. and Humphrey, S.R. (1980). A profile of the endangered species of 

Thailand. Report No . 4 , Office of Ecological Services, Florida State 

Museum, Gainesville. 
Bolton, M. (1978). Crocodile farming in Papua New Guinea. Oryx 14(4): 

365-369. 
Burbidge, A. A. and Messel, H. (1979). The status of the Saltwater Crocodile 

in the Glenelg, Prince Regent and Ord River systems, Kimberley, Western 

Australia. Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Uestern Australia, 

Report No. 34. 
Bustard, H.R. and Choudhury, B.C. (1980). Conservation future of the Saltwater 

Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus, Schneider) in India. Journal of the 

Bombay Natural History Society 77(2): 201-214. 
Bustard, H.R. and Kar, S.K. (1980). Defence of the nest against man by 

Saltwater Crocodile {Crocodylus porosus Schnieder). Journal of the 

Bombay Natural History Society 77(3): 514-515. 
Choudhury, B.C. and Bustard, H.R. (1979). Predation on natural nests of the 

Saltwater Crocodile {Crocodylus porosus Schneider) on North Andaman 

Island with notes on the crocodile population. Journal of the Bombay 

Natural History Society 76(2): 311-323. 
Cogger, H.G. (1979). fteptiies and Amphibians of Australia. 2nd ed . Reed, 

Sydney . 
Cox, J. (1987). A strategy for sustained development of the crocodile resource 

in Irian Jaya. Working Paper Number One, GCP/INS/060/JPN. 
Cox, J. and Gombek, F. (1985). A preliminary survey of the crocodile resource 

in Sarawak, East Malaysia. Unpublished report. lUCN/WWF Project No. MAL 

74/85, 64 pp. 
Daniel, J.C. (1980). For crocodiles ... an island of hope in a sea of 

extinction. Animal Kingdom Oct/Nov: 26-27. 



102 



Crocodylus porosus 

Daniel, J.C, and Hussain, S.A. (1974). The record (?) Saltwater Crocodile 

{Crocodylus porosus, Schneider). Journal of the Bombay Natural History 

Society 71(2) : 309-312. 
Deranigyagala, P.E.P. (1939). The tetrapod reptiles of Ceylon. Vol. 1. 

Testudlnates and Crocodlllans . Colombo Museum, Ceylon. 
Dickinson, D. (1981). Marine crocodiles (.Crocodylus porosus) in Vanuatu. 

Nalka (Journal of the Vanuatu Natural Science Society), No. 3, p. 5. 
Dixon, A.M., Milliken, T. and Tokunaga, H. (in press) Japanese imports of 

crocodile and alligator skins, 1970-July 1986. Report prepared for the 

International Alligator and Crocodile Trade Study. 
Farook, S.M.S. (1980). Proposed study on the crocodiles of Sri Lanka. 

Unpublished report. 
Groombridge, B. (1982). The lUCN Amphlbla-Reptllla red data book. Part 1. 

Testudines , Crocodylla, Rhynchocephalla. lUCN, Gland, Switzerland, 426 pp. 
Hollands, M. (1984). A Preliminary Examination of Crocodile Population Trends 

In Papua New Guinea from 1981-1984 (with two supplements giving results 

of October 1984 and March 1985 surveys). Report prepared for 7th Working 

Meeting of Crocodile Specialist Group, Caracas, Venezuela, Oct. 1984. 

Crocodile Management Project, Dept . of Primary Industry, PNG. 
Hollands, M. (1987). The management of crocodiles in Papua New Guinea. In: 

Webb, G.J., Manolis, S.C. and Whitehead, P.J. (eds) Wildlife Management: 

crocodiles and alligators. Surrey Beaty, Chipping Norton, N.S.W., 

Australia, pp. 73-89. 
Honegger, R. (1979). Red Data Book, Vol.3: Amphibia and Reptllla. lUCN, 

Gland (third edition revised). 
Jayal, N.D. (1980). Crocodile Conservation in India. Tlgerpaper 7(4): 1-3. 
Jenkins, R.W.G. (1979). The status of endangered Australian reptiles. Chapter 

16. In: Tyler, M.J. (Ed.). The status of Endangered Australasian 

Wildlife. Royal Zoological Society of South Australia, pp. 169-176. 
Jenkins, R.W.G. (1980). Crocodile comeback: problem or profit? Australian 

Fisheries Reprint, No. 70. 
Khan, Md. A.R. (1980). Present status and distribution of Crocodiles and 

Gavlal In Bangladesh. Paper presented at 5th meeting of the lUCN/SSC 

Crocodile Specialist Group; August 1980, Gainesville, U.S.A. 
King, F.W. (1973). External trade statistics for undressed crocodile skins 

from Malaysia-Singapore - a correction. Crocodiles, lUCN Publ . New Ser . 

Suppl . Pap. No. 41. (Proceedings of the second working meeting of 

Crocodile Specialists, Zululand, 1973). 
King, F.W. , and Brazaitis, P. (1971). Species identification of commercial 

crocodilian skins. Zoologlca (N.Y.). 56(2): 15-70. 
King, F.W., Campbell, H.W., Messel, H. and Whitaker, R. (1979). Review of the 

status of the estuarine or saltwater crocodile, Crocodylus porosus. 

Unpublished report, 33 pp. 
Lang, J.W. (1980). Reproductive behaviors of New Guinea and Saltwater 

Crocodiles. Unpublished paper given at SSAR (Soc. for Study of Amphibians 

and Reptiles) symposium on reproductive biology and conservation of 

crocodilians; 7-9 August, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A. 
Lever, J. (1980). Crocodile conservation and Industry development In Irian 

Jaya. Report on a FAO-sponsored consultancy prepared for Directorate of 

Nature Conservation, Directorate General of Forestry; Bogor, Indonesia. 
Luders, D. (1983). The crocodile population of Vanua Lava, Banks Islands. 

Report to the Hermon Slade Foundation (unpublished). 
Luxmoore, R. (1986). Exploit.ition of the Saltwater Crocodile in Indonesia. 

Traffic Bulletin 7(5): 78-80. 
Luxmoore, R., Barzdo, J.G., Broad, S.R., and Jones, D.A. (1985). A Directory 

of Crocodilian Farming Operations . lUCN/CITES, 204 pp. 
MacKinnon, J. (1981). In lltt., 7 May. Coiranents provided for the compilation 

of Groombridge, 1982. 



103 



CTOcodylus porosus 

Magnusson, W.E., Grigg, G.C. and Taylor, J. A. (1978). An aerial survey of 

potential nesting areas of the Saltwater Crocodile, Crocodylus porosus 

Schneider, on the north coast of Arnhem Land, Northern Australia. 

Australian Wildlife Research 5: 401-415. 
McCoy, M. (1980). Reptiles of the Solomon Islands. Handbook. No. 7., Wau 

Ecology Institute, Papua New Guinea, pp. 1-82. 
Messel, H. (1977). The crocodile programme In Northern Australia. Population 

surveys and numbers. Chapter 13, pp 207-236, in Messel, H., and Butler, 

S.T. (Eds), Australian Animals and their Environment. Shakespeare Head 

Press, Sydney. 
Messel, H., and Vorlicek., G.C. (1985). Population Dynamics of Crocodylus 

porosus - a ten year overview. In: Grigg, G., Shine, R. , and Ehmann, H. 

(eds) Biology of Australasian Frogs and Reptiles. Royal Zoological 

Society of New South Wales, pp 71-82. 
Messel, H., and Vorlicek., G.C. (1986). Population Dynamics and Status of 

Crocodylus porosus in the Tidal Waterways of Northern Australia. 

Australian Wildlife Research 13: 71-111. 
Messel, H., Vorlicek, G.C, Wells A.G., and Green, W.J. (1981). The status and 

dynamics of Crocodylus porosus populations in the tidal waterways of 

Northern Australia. In: Banks, C.B., and Martin, A. A. (eds) Proceedings 

of the Melbourne Herpetologlcal Symposium. Zoological Board of Australia, 

The Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens, Chapter 18, pp. 78-103. 
Messel, H., Vorlicek, G.C, Wells, A.G., and Green, W.J. (1979-1984). Surveys 

of tidal river systems In the Northern Territory of Australia and their 

crocodile populations. Pergamon Press Ltd., Oxford, England and Sydney, 

Australia. (A series of 18 Monographs). 
Messel, H., Vorlicek, G.C, Wells, A.G., Green, W.J., and Onley, l.C (1984). 

Status of Crocodylus porosus, July 1984, in the tidal waterways of the 

Alligator region and in the Adelaide River System of Northern Australia: 

Recovery under way. Paper presented at 7th Working Meeting of the 

Crocodile Specialist Group, October 1984, Caracas, Venezuela. 
Messel, H., Vorlicek, G.C, Wells, A.G. and Onley, l.C (in prep.) Resurvey 

of the Saltwater Crocodile population in the tidal waterways of Port 

Musgrave, Cape York Peninsula, Queensland, Australia, August 1987. 
Neill, W.T. (1971). The last of the ruling reptiles. Colombia University 

Press, New York. 486 pp. 
Nowak, R.M. (1976). Wildlife of Indochina: tragedy or opportunity? Nat. Park 

& Conserv. Mag. 50(6): 13-18. 
Robb, R. (1980). New Zealand Amphibians and Reptiles In colour. Collins, 

Aukland. 
Ross, CA. (1981). Report on Smithsonian Institute/WWF Philippine Crocodile 

Project. WWF Project 1489. 
Ross, CA. (1982). Final Report on S.I. /WWF Project No. 1489. Philippine 

Crocodile . 
Ross, CC (1984). Crocodiles in the Republic of the Philippines. In: 

Crocodiles: Proceedings of the 6th Working Meeting of the Crocodile 

Specialist Group, 1982. 
Saharia, V.N. (ed.). (1981). Crocodile Breeding Project. In: Wildlife in 

India. Dept of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture, 

Government of Indie, pp. 146-164. (Chapter based on a report by Dr. H.R. 

Bustard) . 
Salter, R.E. (1983). Summary of currently available Information on 

Internationally threatened wildlife species In Burma. FO : BUR/80/006 . 

Field Document 7/83. FAG, Rangoon. 
Scriven, K. (1972). Conservation in West Malaysia. WWF Yearbook 1971-72: 

275-281. 
Shelford, R.W.C (1916). A naturalist In Borneo. Fisher Unwin Ltd., London. 
Smith M.A. (1931). The Fauna of British India Including Ceylon and Burma. 

Reptllla and Amphibia. Vol. 1. Lorlcata, Testudlnes . Taylor and Francis 

Ltd., London. (Reprinted 1973 by Ralph Curtis Books, Hollywood, Florida). 

104 



Crocodylus porosus 

Taplin, L.E. (1987). The management of crocodiles in Queensland, Australia. 

In: Webb, G.J., Manolis, S.C. and Whitehead, P.J. (eds) Wildlife 

Management: crocodiles and alligators . Surrey Beaty, Chipping Norton, 

N.S.W., Australia, pp. 129-140. 
Taylor, J. A. (1979). The foods and feeding habits of subadult Crocodylus 

porosus Schneider in Northern Australia. Australian Wildlife Research 

6: 347-359. 
Webb, G.J.W. (1977). Habitat and nesting. In: Messel, H., and Butler, S.T. 

(eds). Australian Animals and their Environment. Shakespeare Head Press, 

Sydney, Chapter 14, pp 239-284. 
Webb, G.J.W. (1978). The status, conservation and management of world 

crocodlllans , and an assessment of the potential for commercial 

exploitation of crocodiles In Australia. Unpublished report to the 

Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service. 
Webb, G.J.W., Messel, H., Crawford, J., and Yerbury, M.J. (1978). Growth rates 

of Crocodylus porosus (Reptilia: Crocodilia) from Arnhem Land, Northern 

Australia. Australian Wildlife Research 5: 385-399. 
Webb, G.J.W., Messel, H. and Magnusson W. (1977). The nesting of Crocodylus 

porosus in Arhem Land, Northern Australia. Copela (1977(2): 238-249. 
Webb, G., Manolis, S., Whitehead, P., and Letts, G. (1984). A Proposal for the 

Transfer of the Australian Population of Crocodylus porosus Schneider 

(1801), from Appendix I to Appendix II of CITES. Technical Report No. 21. 

Conservation Commission of the Northern Territory. 
Webb, G.J.W., Whitehead, P.J. and Manolis, S.C. (1987). Crocodile management 

in the Northern Territories of Australia. In: Webb, G.J., Manolis, S.C. 

and Whitehead, P.J. (eds) Wildlife Management: crocodiles and 

alligators . Surrey Beaty, Chipping Norton, N.S.W., Australia, pp. 107-124. 
Whitaker, R. (1979). A preliminary survey of the crocodile resource In the 

Island provinces of P.N.G. Report under FAG Project PNG/74/029, 

Assistance to the Crocodile Skin Industry. 
Whitaker, R. (1980). Interim report on the status and biology of crocodiles 

In Papua New Guinea. Field Document No.l, FAG Project PNG/74/029, 

Assistance to the Crocodile Skin Industry. Wildlife Division (Dept. of 

Lands and Environment) and FAO, Port Moresby. 
Whitaker, R. (1984). Preliminary survey of crocodiles In Sabah, East 

Malaysia. lUCN/WWF Proj . 3127. WWF Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. 
Whitaker, R. (1986). Status of Asian crocodilians : an update. In: 

Crocodiles . Proceedings of the 7th working meeting of the Crocodile 

Specialist Group of the SSC of JUCN, Caracas, 21-28 October, 1984. lUCN, 

Galnd, pp. 376-378. 
Whitaker, R. (1987). The management of crocodilians in India. In: Webb, G.J., 

Manolis, S.C. and Whitehead, P.J. (eds) Wildlife Management: crocodiles 

and alligators. Surrey Beaty, Chipping Norton, N.S.W., Australia, pp. 

63-72. 
Whitaker, R. , and Daniel, J.C. (1978). The status of Asian crocodilians. 

Tlgerpaper 5(4): 12-17. 
Whitaker, R., and Whitaker, Z. (1978). A preliminary survey of the Saltwater 

Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) in the Andaman Islands. Journal of the 

Bombay Natural History Society 75(1): 43-49. 
Whitaker, R. , and Whitaker, Z. (1979). Preliminary crocodile survey - Sri 

Lanka. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 76(1): 66-85. 
Whitaker, R. , Sukran, P., and Hartono, C. (1985). The crocodile resource In 

Irian Jaya WWF/IUCN Report 12. P. 1528 Consultancy Report. WWF/IUCN 

Conservation for Development Programme in Indonesia. 
Wycherley, P. (1971). External trade statistics of West Malaysia for undressed 

crocodile skins. In: Crocodiles: Proceedings of the first working 

meeting of crocodile specialists. lUCN Publications, New Series, 

Supplementary Paper No. 32, pp. 51-53. 



105 



ABBOTTS DAY GECKO 

Phelsuma abbotti Stejneger, 1893 

Order SQUAMATA 



Recommended list: 2 
[Possible problem] 



Family GEKKONIOAE 



SUMMARY AND COWCLUSIOKS Found in the Seychelles (Aldabra and Assumption), 
and Madagascar, two subspecies have been characterised in the Seychelles and 
others are considered to exist in Madagascar. The estimated population size 
of P. a. abbotti is over 1 million specimens; there are no estimates for P. 
a. sumptlo. An arboreal lizard, P. abbotti may be found in plantations and 
native forest. Threatened by loss of habitat on Assumption. Aldabra is a 
Strict Nature Reserve and the species may also occur in a reserve in 
Madagascar. Apparently breeds readily in captivity. 

The minimum trade volume for the years 1980 - 1985 was 484 specimens, of which 
the majority, 2A7, were reported as dead specimens for scientific purposes. 
The remainder were live animals, presumably used for the pet trade. The 
principal exporters were the Seychelles and Madagascar. The UK, Italy, and 
the USA were the principal importers. 

Exports in identified specimens of this species would probably not harm the 
population although additional data are needed to verify this. However, the 
Seychelles reported a large export of unidentified Phelsuma which, If they 
were P. abbotti, could adversely affect the status of certain populations. 
The restricted distribution of P. a sumptlo renders it particularly 
vulnerable to exploitation. Expert opinion favours maintaining trade controls. 



DISTRIBUTIOW Known from the Seychelles and Madagascar. 

Taxonomlc note Three former subspecies of P. abbotti are now generally 
considered to be subspecies of P. longlnsulae; i.e. P. J. longlnsulae, 
P. 1. pulchra, P. 1. menalensls (Cheke, 1982; 1984). All three are known 
from the Seychelles and Cheke (1982; 1984) summarized their distribution. 
P. v-nlgra Is sometimes treated as a subspecies of P. abbotti - here It Is 
treated as a full species following Cheke (1984) and Mertens (1962). It Is 
probable that Phelsuma befotakensls and P. chekel Borner and Mlnuth, 1984 
from Madagascar should be referred to as subspecies of P. abbotti (Gardner, 
1985). Borner and Mlnuth (1984) also considered that P. a. sumptlo should 
be upgraded to P. sumptlo; as they are apparently the only authorities to 
use this nomenclature, it is here maintained as a subspecies of P. abbotti. 

Madagascar Mertens (1966) considered that the distribution of 
P. a. abbotti Included Nossi B6 , and the north-west coast of Madagascar. It 
is likely however that specimens found here are uncharacterlsed subspecies 
other than P. a. abbotti (Cheke, 1982; 1984) 

Seychelles P. a. abbotti is known from Aldabra Atoll (Cheke, 1984; Blanc, 
1972). Found on all the major islands and many of the smaller ones (Gardner, 
1985). P. a. sumptlo Is known from Assumption Island (Cheke, 1982). 

PGPULATIOK 

Madagascar No information is available. 

Seychelles P. abbotti has been found at densities of 100-200 
indlviduals/ha in coconut groves, and at lower densities In native forest 



(Niedzwledzi pers. comm. in Cheke, 1984). 



106 



Phelsuma abbottl 

P. a. abbottl: The entire population numbers over a million specimens at a 
conservative estimate. Highest densities are in mixed scrub vegetation and 
coconut trees (A.S. Gardner, In lltt., 23 January 1986). 

P. a. sumptlo: Abundant in coconut and Casuarlna plantations, the 
population of this subspecies is now restricted following clear felling over 
much of the island. No detailed density estimates are available (A.S. 
Gardner, In lltt., 23 January 1986). 

HABITAT AND ECOLOGY An arboreal lizard, P. abbottl abbottl is Icnown from 
various forest types. A solitary species, breeding takes place throughout the 
year with eggs being deposited under bark in trees. The clutch size is 
typically two. (Niedzwiedzi in Cheke, 1984; Cheke, 198A). 

The lizard is diurnal and feeds on insects, nectar from flowers and liquid 
from fruits (Niedzwiedzi in Cheke, 1984). A feeding association has been 
observed with giant tortoises (Geochelone glgantea) and the geckos forage on 
mosquitoes attracted to their soft parts and also insects disturbed by the 
tortoises* movement through the vegetation (Honneger, 1966; Stoddart and 
Wright, 1967). Predators have been identified as drongo (Dicrurus 
aldabranus) , doves (Streptopella plcturata) , herons (Ardeldae spp) and 
coucal iCentropus toulou) (Benson and Penny, 1971; Frith, 1979). 

THREATS TO SURVIVAL Clear felling is taking place on Assumption Island for 
guano extraction and this is restricting the population of P. a. sumptlo 
(A.S. Gardner, In lltt., 23 January 1986). No information has been found 
relating to exploitation of this species within the countries of origin. 

INTERNATIONAL TRADE All Phelsuma species were originally included in 

CITES Appendix II as they were or could be subject to heavy pet trade and the 

species are difficult to tell apart. The only data on international trade are 

those contained in the Annual Reports of the Parties to CITES which are 
summarized in Tables 1 and 2. 

Most of the reported trade was 247 dead specimens Imported to the UK for 
scientific purposes. The remaining trade was in live animals, probably to be 
used as pets. Over the six years 1980-1985 inclusive, the Seychelles was the 
largest exporter of this species, followed by Madagascar. Most of the live 
animals were imported by Italy, followed by the USA and F.R. Germany. 



Table 1: Minimum net imports of Phelsuma abbottl reported to CITES. All 
specimens were live except for 247 scientific specimens, indicated by t. 



1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 



Canada _ _ 2 - - - 

Denmark 10 - - - - - 

Germany, F.R. - 15 - 30 

Italy _ _ _ _ 100 - 

UK - 247 # - - - 1 * 

USA - 61 18 

Total 10 323 20 30 100 1 
* Captive-bred 



107 



Phelsuma Abbott! 

Table 2: Reported countries of origin (or exporting country if no original 
source reported) and quantities of export of Phelsuma abbottl reported to 
CITES. All exports were live except for 247 scientific specimens, indicated 
by *. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Countries having or possibly having wild populations of P. abbottl 



Madagascar 
Seychelles 



24 7 # 
25 



20 



30 



100 



Countries without wild populations of P. abbotti 
10 



Comores 

Germany, F.R. 

Indonesia 

USA 

* Captive-bred 



51 
10 



1 * 



61 specimens were declared as having originated in the Comores, where 
P .abbottl does not occur; so it is possible that this is case of mistaken 
identity, in which case they could be P. comorensls , P. dubla, P. latlcauda^ 
P. v-nlgza, (all species treated under this contract) or P. robertmertensl . 

In addition to the trade in this species, the Seychelles reported exports of 
unidentified Phelsuma species. These are likely to be one of the following 
species: Phelsuma astrlata , P. abbottl, P. latlcauda, P. longlnsulae or 
P. sundbergl . These exports were substantial and were as follows: 1980, 60 
specimens; 1981, 1015 kg; 1982, 72 kg; 1983, 28 kg; 1984, 41 kg of bodies. 
The largest single importer of these was the United Kingdom. F.R. Germany and 
the USA also took large numbers. If these figures can be relied on and if 
all, or a substantial proportion, of these imports, were P. abbottl, this 
would be a cause for concern since they could make a great impact on wild 
populations. Using the maximum weight of P. a. sumptlo (11.7 g), the total 
number of Phelsuma exported by the Seychelles in 1981 would be in excess of 
85 000 animals, although only around 3% of this figure was exported in 1983, 
(2400 animals). It should be noted that no such shipments, nor even a 
substantial part of them, were reported as imports by other countries and it 
is possible that errors were made in the Annual Report of the Seychelles. 

Due to lack of population and life history data it is not possible to assess 
the precise effects of international trade on this species. The reported 
trade in P. abbottl is not large and, if the specimens were P. a. abbottl, 
there would be little cause for concern, since the minimum population is 
estimated as one million. If the subspecies exported from the Seychelles was 
P. a. sumptlo, which has a restricted distribution and is subject to 
pressure from logging, it will probably be less able to withstand the 
pressure. Gardner (in Jitt., 1986) reports that P. a. abbottl is fully 
protected and not exploited and that P. a. sumptlo is also not exploited. 
However, he considers that their handsome appearance combined with their 
rarity could make them attractive to collectors. Several experts have 
expressed reservations about the advisability of reducing the trade controls 
for Phelsuma (Q. Bloxam, In lltt., 1986; A.S. Gardner, In lltt., 23 
January 1986; R. Thorpe, In lltt., 21 January 1986). 



108 



Phelsuma abbottl 

CONSERVATION MEASURES It is possible that this species occurs within the 
protected area of Lokob^ on Nossi Be (Madagascar) . Aldabra is run by the 
Seychelles Island Foundation as a strict Nature Reserve which affords 
protection to P. a. abbottl . Gardner (in lltt., 1986) reports that 
P. a. abbottl and P. a. sujnptlo are not exploited. 

CAPTIVE BREEDING . PhelsLima abbottl apparently breeds relatively easily in 
captivity. Jacobi (1982, unpublished data) reported that, in the Netherlands, 
5 specimens were bred in 1980 and 11 in 1981. A recent inventory by Slavens 
(1985) did not report any specimens in captivity. There are however likely to 
be many. 

REFERENCES 

Borner, A.R. and Minuth, W. (1984). On the taxonomy of the Indian Ocean 

lizards of the Phelsuma madagascarlensls species group (Reptilia, 

Geckonidae). Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 

81(2): 243-281. 
Benson, C.W. and Penny, M. (1971). The landbirds of Aldabra. Phllosphlcal 

Transactions of the Royal Society of London 260: 417-527. 
Blanc, C.P. (1972). Les reptiles de Madagascar et des lies voisines. In: 

Battistini; R. and Richard-Vindard , G. (eds.). Blogeography and Ecology 

In Madagascar. Dr W. Junk, The Hague, pp. 501-614. 
Cheke, A.S. (1982). Phelsuma Gray 1825 in the Seychelles and neighbouring 

islands: a re-appraisal of their taxonomy and description of two new 

forms. Senckenberglana blologlca 62: 181-198. 
Cheke, A.S. (1984). Lizards of the Seychelles. In: Stoddart, D.R. (ed). 

Blogeography and ecology of the Seychelles Island. Dr W. Junk, The 

Hague, pp. 332-360. 
Frith, C.B. (1979). Feeding ecology of land birds on West Island, Aldabra 

Atoll, Indian Ocean: a preliminary survey. Philosophical Transactions of 

the Royal Society of London 286: 195-210. 
Gardner, A.S. (1985). An identification key to the geckos of the Seychelles, 

with brief notes on their distribution and habits. Herpetologlcal 

Journal 1: 17-19. 
Honnegger, R.E. (1966). Beobachtungen an der Herpetofauna der Seychellen. 

Salamandra 1966: 21-36. 
Mertens, R. (1962). Die Arten und Unterarten der Geckonengattung Phelsuma. 

Senckenberglana blologlca 43: 87-127. 
Mertens, R. (1966). Die Nichtmadagassischen Arten und Unterarten der 

Geckonengattung Phelsuma. Senckenberglana blologlca 47: 85-110. 
Slavens, F.L. (1985). Inventory of live reptiles and amphibians In captivity 

current January 1, 1985. F.L. Slavens, Seattle, Washington, 341 pp. 
Stoddart, D.E. and Wright, C.A. (1967). Geography and ecology of Aldabra 
Atoll. Atoll Research Bulletin 118: 11-52. 



109 



Recommended list: 3* 
[No problem] 
Pbelsuma astrlata Tornier, 1901 

Order SAURIA Family GEKKONIDAE 

*See last paragraph of Summary and Conclusions 

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIOMS This species is endemic to and widespread in the 
Seychelles. Two widespread forms, P. astrlata astrlata and P. a. 
semlcarlnata , both appear to be abundant (numbering millions) and capable of 
living in a wide variety of natural and manipulated habitats. Two further 
subspecies, each on a single island, may be recogniseable . Present in a 
number of reserves in the Seychelles, this species is apparently relatively 
easy to breed in captivity. 

The minimum trade volume reported to CITES during the period 1980-85 was 891 
specimens, the majority of which comprised a single shipment of 537 dead 
specimens, imported to the UK for scientific purposes. Most of the remainder 
were reported as live exports from the Seychelles and the Comores. As the 
species does not occur in the Comores, there may have been a mistake over the 
identity. A large quantity of unidentified Pbelsuma spp. were reported as 
exports from the Seychelles. 

The volume of trade in lizards identified as P. astrlata reported to CITES 
seems certain not to have significant adverse effects on population levels. 
However, the high number of unidentified Pbelsuma reported as exports from 
the Seychelles could, if all or the great majority were P. astrlata, have 
caused severe pressure on local populations; the inclusion in list 3 rests on 
the assumption that this is not the case. Further information on the 
identification and provenance of these lizards, and the veracity of the 
reported transactions, is required. Expert opinion favours maintaining trade 
controls . 



DISTRIBUTION Endemic to the Seychelles. Chelte (1984) summarized the 

distribution as follows: 

P. a. astrlata: Mahe, Long, Saint Anne, Cerf, Conception, Th^rese, Cachee, 

Anonyme, Islette and Silhouette Islands (Chek.e, 1984). Meier (1982) however 

additionally reported this subspecies from Praslin, Curieuse and La Digue. 

P. a. semlcarlnata: St Joseph, D'Arros, Denis, Praslin, Curieuse, Round, La 

Digue, Felicite, Petite Soeur, Grand Soeur, Marianne, Cousin, Cousine, Aride 

(Cheke, 1984), Chauve Souris, Cocos (Thorpe, in Cheke, 1984). 

Cheke (1984) recognises two further subspecies, P. a. astovel restricted to 

Astove Island (Blanc, 1972; Cheke, 1982; 1984) and 'P. a. intermediate form* 

on Fregate; both these forms appear to be treated as semi carina ta by 

others, such as Gardner (1985). 

POPULATION 

P. a. astrlata: apparently abundant in most lowland habitat including 
coconut plantations and gardens, has been recorded at densities of up to 643 
per 100 trees on Silhouette (the actual density probably being at least double 
this figure). The entire population must be numbered in millions (A.S. 
Gardner, In lltt., 23 January 1986). 

P. a. semlcarlnata: Thorpe and Crawford (1979) and Evans and Evans (1980) 
found that the highest densities on Praslin were in native palm forest, with 
225-250 individuals/ha. Gardner (in Jitt., 23 January 1986), however. 



110 



Phelsuma as tr lata 

reported densities of 400 per ha on Praslin. Cheke (1984) provided data for 
Cousin where there was a maximum density of 175 individuals/ha. Diamond 
(1976) reported that it was quite common there. The species may be excluded 
from coconut plantations to some extent by the larger P. sundbergl . The 
entire population is numbered in millions (A.S. Gardner, in lltt., 23 
January 1986) . 

No information is available on the population size of P. a. astovel and the 
putative Fregate form; these are not likely to be large since both have a 
restricted distribution. 

HABITAT AND ECOLO(?Y P. a. semicarinata: On both Praslin and Cousin, this 
arboreal subspecies is found in forests. Thorpe and Crawford (1979) found it 
in coconut groves, gardens, natural lowland forests, eroded hillsides (low 
densities) and hillside forest (highest density). It lives under bark in the 
trees and at the leaf bases (Evans and Evans, 1980). A diurnal subspecies, 
P. a. semicarinata feeds on insects (ants, bugs and beetles), spiders and 
nectar and pollen (Cheke, 1984). On Praslin, breeding takes place all year 
round and two eggs are laid under bark, in hollow rotting wood or in crevices 
of buildings. Approximately 10-12 eggs are laid per year (Gardner, 1984). No 
other information is available on the ecology of the other subspecies. 

THREATS TO SURVIVAL None known. No information has been found relating to 
exploitation of this species within the Seychelles. 

INTERNATIONAL TRADE . The whole genus Phelsuma was listed on CITES 
Appendix II as the species are difficult to separate. The only data on 
international trade are those contained in the Annual Reports of the Parties 
to CITES which are summarized in Tables 1 and 2. The majority of reported 
trade comprised a single shipment of 537 dead specimens, imported to the UK 
for scientific purposes. The remainder was in live animals, presumably for 
the pet market. Over the six years 1980-1985 inclusive, the Seychelles was 
the largest exporter of P. astrlata, followed by the Comores, where the 
species does not occur. It is likely therefore that this is a case of 
mistaken identity, in which case they could be P. comorensls , P. dubla, 
P. latlcauda, P. v-nlgra or P. robertmertensl . The major importers of live 
animals were F.R. Germany and the USA. Of the 13 reported shipments, five 
involved the Netherlands as a re-exporting country and one as an exporting 
country. 

Table 1: Minimum net imports of Phelsuma astrlata reported to CITES. All 
figures represent live animals except for 537 dead specimens, indicated by *. 

1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 



Austria 






_ 


Denmark 


12 


- 


- 


Germany, F.R. 


10 


58 


99 


Switzerland 


- 


- 


2 


UK 


_ 


537 # 


- 




- 


20 




USA 


_ 


46 


- 



10 - - 

90 - - 

7 « 



Total 22 661 101 100 

* Captive-bred 



111 



PhelsLima as tr lata 

Table 2 Reported countries of origin (or exporting country if no origin 
reported) and quantities of export of Phelsmna astrlata reported to CITES. 
All represent live animals except for 537 dead specimens, indicated by #. 



1980 1981 1982 1983 1986 1985 



Countries having or possibly having wild populations of P. astrlata 

Seychelles - 69 1 100 

537* 

Countries without wild populations of P. astxlata 

Comores 12 55 100 

Germany, F.R. - 7 

Indonesia _ _ _ _ _ 

Madagascar 10 - - - - 

Netherlands _ _ i _ _ 

* Captive-bred 



In addition to the trade in this species, the Seychelles reported exports of 
unidentified Phelsuma species. These are likely to be one of the following 
species: Phelsuma astrlata, P. abbottl , P. latlcauda (all species treated 
under this contract), P. longlnsulae or P. sundbergl . These exports were 
substantial, reportedly mainly to the UK, F.R. Germany and USA and were as 
follows: 1980, 60 specimens; 1981, 1 015 leg; 1982, 72 kg; 1983, 28 kg; 1984, 
61 kg bodies. However no country reports importing such shipments (or even a 
substantial part of them) and it is possible that errors exist in the Annual 
Report of the Seychelles to CITES. If these shipments took place, in 1981 
tens of thousands of specimens would have been transported. If these were 
all, or a substantial part of them, P. astrlata, populations could seriously 
have been depleted. 

The levels of identified specimens of P. astrlata in trade do not appear to 
be large enough to jeopardize the survival of this species. P. a. astovel 
and the Fregate form are most likely to be vulnerable to collections, since 
they have a restricted distribution. Gardner (In lltt., 23 January 1986) 
considered that this species could sustain a large export trade if managed 
sensibly. However, Thorpe (In lltt., 21 January 1986) observed that 
sustained and organised collection could threaten the species, particularly on 
small islands. Both considered that commercial trade should not be encouraged. 

CONSERVATION MEASURES The following reserves on the Seychelles contain P. 
astrlata: Cousin Island Special Reserve (managed by ICBP International), 
Aride Island (managed by the Royal Society for Nature Conservation), La Digue 
Veuve Reserve (on La Digue, managed by the Ministry of National Development), 
Morne Seychelles National Park (managed by the Ministry of National 
Development) and Vallee de Mai (on Praslin, a World Heritage Site). 

CAPTIVE BREEDING Phelsuma spp. apparently breed relatively easily in 
captivity. Jacobi (1982, unpublished data) reported that in the Netherlands, 
17 specimens were bred in 1980 and 26 in 1981. In a recent inventory, Slavens 
(1985) listed holdings of 3 specimens in two localities. There are however 
likely to be considerably greater numbers in captivity. 



112 



Phelsuma astrlata 

REPKRSNCKS 

Blanc, C.P. (1972). Les reptiles de Madagascar et des lies voisines. In: 

Battistini, R. and Richard-Vindard, G. (eds), Blogeography and Ecology In 

Madagascar. Dr W. Junk., The Hague, pp. 501-614. 
Chelce, A. (1982). Phelsuma Gray 1825 in the Seychelles and neighbouring 

islands: a re-appraisal of their taxonomy and description of two new 

forms. Senckenberglana blologlca 62: 181-198. 
Chelce, A. (198A). Lizards of the Seychelles. In: Stoddart, D.R. (ed.), 

Blogeography and ecology of the Seychelles Islands. Dr W. Junk., The 

Hague, pp. 332-360. 
Diamond, A.W. (1976). Cousin Island Nature Reserve Management Plan 

197S-1979 . International Council for Bird Preservation, London, 61 pp. 
Evans, P.G.H. and Evans, J.B. (1980). The ecology of lizards on Praslin 

Island, Seychelles. Journal of Zoology 191: 171-192. 
Gardner, A.S. (1984). The evolutionary ecology and population systematics of 

day geckos (Phelsuma) in the Seychelles. Ph.D. Thesis, Aberdeen 

Uni vers i ty . . 
Gardner, A.S. (1985). An identification key to the geckos of the Seychelles, 

with brief notes on their distribution and habits. Herpetologlcal 

Journal 1: 17-19. 
Meier, H. (1982). Zur Taxonomie und Gkologie der Gattung Phelsuma auf den 

Seychellen mit Nachtragen zu dieser Gattung auf den Komoren. Salamandra 

18(1/2): 49-55. 
Slavens, F.L. (1985). Inventory of live reptiles and amphibians In captivity 

current January 1. 198S. F.L. Slavens, Seattle, Washington, 341 pp. 
Thorpe, R.S. and Crawford, CM. (1979). The comparative abundance and 

resource partitioning of two green gecko species (.Phelsuma) on Praslin, 

Seychelles. British Journal of Herpetology 6: 19-24. 



113 



GREATER DAY GECKO Recommended list: 3 

[No problem] 
PheisLuna cepedlana (Merrem, 1820) 

Order SAURIA Family GEKKONIDAE 



SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS Found in Mauritius and introduced on Reunion, 
reports indicate that P. cepedlana is abundant on Mauritius, numbering tens 
of thousands. Destruction of native forest habitat and cultivation may affect 
this species. Protected against capture, killing and export in Mauritius, 
this gecko may occur in nature reserves. Apparently readily bred in captivity. 

CITES Annual Reports indicate a minimum net trade of 1608 P. cepedlana in 
the period 1980-85; however only 180 specimens originated from Mauritius, the 
only country with a wild population. Other reported exports, from the 
Comores, Madagascar and the Seychelles, are likely to have been 
misidentif led. The Netherlands, F.R. Germany and the USA were the major 
importers of P. cepedlana. 

The low level of reported trade before 1980, and the small number of specimens 
originating in Mauritius, suggests that trade in recent years has not been a 
significant threat to the species. Expert opinion does not favour relaxing 
trade controls on Phelsuma. 



DISTRIBUTION This species is native to Mauritius and its islets (Blanc, 
1972; Cheke, 1982; 198^i; A.S. Gardner, in lltt., 23 January 1986; Rendahl, 
1939) and introduced into Reunion (Cheke, 1975). Mertens (1963b) reported 
that 50 had been released at Ivoloina on the east coast of Madagascar. 

POPULATION Although reported as localized and declining by Temple (1974), 
Owadally (Mauritius CITES MA, 1985) considered that it is the most abundant of 
the Phelsuma in Mauritius with a population of hundreds of thousands. 
P. cepedlana was reported as the commonest and most widely distributed gecko 
on the island (Mertens, 1963a); probably relatively secure (Q. Bloxam, In 
lltt. , 2? January 1986) . 

HABITAT AND ECOLO(?Y Commonest in upland vegetation including banana clumps 
and gardens, but also found at sea level (A.S. Gardner, In lltt., 23 January 
1986). The species usually hides in trunk crevices, beneath bark or under 
sheltered branches. Eggs are usually laid in coupled pairs concealed in wood 
crevices or at the base of the leaf sheaths of monocotyledons (Vinson and 
Vinson, 1969) 

THREATS TO SURVIVAL None confirmed; possibly affected by the large scale 
modification of native vegetation. 

INTERNATIONAL TRADE Phelsuma spp. were listed on CITES Appendix II 
because it was likely that some species were or could be in international 
trade and the different species are difficult to identify. Temple (1974) 
reported that foreign dealers had expressed interest in the export of 
Phelsuma from Mauritius. The only data available on this trade are those 
contained in the Annual Reports of Parties to CITES which are summarized in 
Tables 1 and 2. All reported trade was in live animals, probably mostly for 
the pet market, although some were identified as being for zoological 
purposes. The Netherlands and F.R. Germany were the main importers, followed 
by the USA and Switzerland. 



114 



Phelsuma cepediana 
Table 1 Minimum net imports of live Phelsuma cepedlana reported to CITES. 



1980 



Total 244 

* Captive-bred 



1981 



312 



1982 



217 



1983 



Austria 


- 


- 


_ 


12 


Canada 


- 


- 


_ 


_ 


Denmark 


14 


_ 


_ 


_ 


German D.R. 


10 


- 


_ 


_ 


Germany, F.R. 


90 


237 


181 


26 


Japan 


- 


- 


- 


8 


Netherlands 


- 


- 


- 


_ 


South Africa 


10 


_ 


_ 


_ 


Switzerland 


20 


- 


34 


36 


UK 


- 


20 


2 


_ 


USA 


100 


55 


— 


_ 



82 



1984 



1985 



- 


12 


4 


_ 


- 


524 


8 


15 


38 


_ 


54 * 


98 


04 


649 



Table 2 Reported countries of origin (or exporting country if no origin 
reported) and numbers of live in Phelsuma cepedlana reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Countries having or possibly having wild populations of P cepedlana 
Mauritius 110 2 2 - - 

Countries without wild populations of P. cepedlana 



Comores 


14 


110 


Germany, F.R. 


- 


3 


Indonesia 


- 


- 


Madagascar 


100 


- 


Netherlands 


20 


- 


New Zealand 


_ 


_ 


Seychelles 


- 


50 


Togo 


- 


- 


Country unknown 


- 


150 



215 



86 



3 
4 « 



43 

50 

4 



* Captive-bred 



42 



500 
23 * 
2 * 



76 * 



The great majority of trade in P. cepedlana was reported to have originated 
in the Comores, where the species does not occur. It is likely that the 
species was misidentif ied, possibly being P. comotensls , P. dubla, 
P. latlcauda, P. v-nlgra or P. rober Oner tens 1 . Similarly, the 100 

specimens reported as originating from Madagascar in 1980 are likely to be 
species other than P. cepedlana. Mauritius, where P. cepedlana does occur 
supplied a total of 156 specimens over the period 1980-1985 (mostly in 1980 



115 



Phelsuma cep&dlana 

and 1985) to the USA, South Africa and the UK. 24 of the specimens in 1985 
were identified on re-export from Switzerland as being for zoological 
purposes. Owadally (Mauritius CITES MA, 1985) considered that no export of 
P. cepedlana from Mauritius now takes place. 21 of the 38 shipments during 
this period either originated from or were re-exported from the Netherlands. 

The number of animals originating from Mauritius is unlikely to harm the 
population of P. cepedlana since it is generally considered abundant. 
Systematic collecting could, however, pose problems and Bloxam (In lltt., 
1986) and Gardner (In lltt., 1986) both consider that trade in Phelsmna 
should not be encouraged. 

CONSERVATIOW MEASURES A law was enacted in 1973 to protect endemic reptiles 
from capture or killing and specifically forbids export from the island 
(Temple, 197Ai . P. cepedlana was protected under the Wildlife Act No. 33 of 
1933 (Mauritius CITES MA, 1987). Macchabee/Bel Ombre and lie Plate are 
protected as nature reserves (Anon., 1985) and it is not inconceivable that 
P. cepedlana occurs within these. Data are required on the ecology and life 
history of this species. 

CAPTIVE BREEDING Pbelsuma spp. apparently breed relatively easily in 
captivity. Jacobi (1982, unpublished data) reported that, in the Netherlands, 
1 specimen was captive bred in 1972, 9 in 1973, 1 in 1976, 4 in 1977, 6 in 
1978, lit in 1979, 6 in 1980, 24 in 1981. Trade in captive-bred specimens 
reported to CITES in 1986 and 1985 indicates that breeding has occurred in the 
Netherlands and F.R. Germany. A recent inventory (Slavens, 1985) listed 21 
specimens in 6 collections; the total numbers are likely to be much higher. 

REFERENCES 

Blanc, C.P. (1972) Les reptiles de Madagascar et des lies voisines. 

In: Battistini, R. and Richard Vindard, G. (eds). Blogeography and 

Ecology In Madagascar. Dr W. Junk, The Hague, pp. 501-614. 
Cheke, A.S. (1975). Un lezard malgache introduit a la Reunion. Info-Nature, 

He Reunion 12: 94-96. 
Cheke, A.S. (1982). A note on Pbelsuma Gray 1825 of the Agalega Islands 

Indian Ocean (Sauria: Gekkonidae). Senckenberglana blologlca 62: 1-3. 
Cheke, A.S. (1984). Lizards of the Seychelles. In: Stoddart, D.R. (ed.). 

Blogeography and Ecology of the Seychelles Islands. Dr W. Junk, The 

Hague, pp. 332-360 
Anon. (1985) 198S United Nations List of National Parks and Protected Areas, 

lUCN Gland and Cambridge, 171 pp. 
Mertens, R. (1963a). The geckos of the genus Pbelsuma on Mauritius and 

introduced islands. Mauritius Institute Bulletin 5: 299-305. 
Mertens, R. (1963b). Zwei neue Arten der Geckonengattung. Pbelsuma. 

Senckenberglana blologlca 44: 349-356. 
Rendahl, H. (1939). Zur Herpetologie der Seychellen I. Reptilien. Zoologlsches 

Jahrbuch 72: 157-328. 
Slavens, F.L. (1985). Inventory of live reptiles and amphibians In captivity 

current January 1, 2985. F.L. Slavens, Seattle, Washington, 341 pp. 
Temple, S.A. (1974). Wildlife in Mauritius today. Oryx 12(5): 584-590. 
Vinson, J. and Vinson, J.M. (1969). The saurian fauna of the Mascarene 

Islands. Mauritius Institute Bulletin 6: 203-320. 



116 



Phelsuma comorensls Mertens, 1966 
Order SAURIA 



Recommended list: 2 
[Possible problem) 



Family GEKKONIDAE 



SUMHARY AND CONCLUSIONS Known only from Grande Comore, Comores Islands. No 

information on population size or ecology is available, this is urgently 

required. The restricted range is itself a cause for concern. Reputedly 
easily bred. 

CITES Annual Reports indicate a minimum net trade of 1236 live specimens of 
p. coworensis and a further 222 unidentified Phelsuma in the period 
1980-85, mostly from the Comores. F.R. Germany was the principal importer of 
this specie-s (followed by the USA and Switzerland). Specimens were probably 
destined for the pet trade. 

Although no assessment can be made of the precise effects of the exports on 

the wild population, trade in such a restricted species must give some cause 

for concern. Expert opinion does not favour relaxing trade controls on 
Phelsuma. 



DISTRIBUTION Known from the island of Grard Comore, Comores Islands (Blanc, 

1972; Mertens, 1966). Meier (1982) noted that the distribution extends from 

the type locality (La Grille at an altitude of 1000 m) to the north coast of 
the island. 

POPULATION Said to be less common on the north coast than elsewhere (Meier, 
1982), otherwise nothing known. 

HABITAT AND ECOLOGY No information available. 



THREATS TO SURVIVAL 
effects of trade. 



At risk due to the restricted range, and perhaps the 



INTERNATIONAL TRADE All Phelsuma spp. were listed on Appendix II as it 
was likely that they were, or might be, in trade and the individual species 
are difficult to identify. The only data that are available are those 
contained in the Annual Reports of the Parties to CITES and these are 
summarized in Tables 1 and 2. 

All reported trade was in live animals, presumably for the pet trade. 
Virtually all the exports were from the Comoro Islands, accounting for 97% of 
animals in trade over the period 1980-1985. The major importer was F.R. 
Germany, taking 77H, of the animals, the USA imported 121 and Switzerland 8%; 
virtually all transactions were for commercial purposes. 

The exports from the F.R. Germany probably originated from the Comores. It is 
likely that the exports from the Seychelles were not P. comorensls but one 
of the following: P. astrlata, P. abbottl , P. latlcauda, P. lonqlnsulae or 
P. sundbergl . 

In addition to the trade in this species, there were several reported imports 
to F.R. Germany and Austria from the Comores of unidentified Phelsuma 
species. These are likely to be one of the following species: Phelsuma 
comorensls, P. dubla, P. latlcauda, P. v-nlgra or P. robertmertensl . These 
were as follows: 1980, 150 specimens; 1981, 20; 1983, 20; 1984, 30, 1985, 2. 



117 



Phelsuma comorensls 

Table 1 Minimum net imports of live Phelsuma comorensls reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Argentina 


- 


- 


- 


- 


2 


Austria 


- 


- 


- 


20 


- 


Canada 


- 


3 


- 


- 


- 


Denmark 


10 


- 


15 


- 


- 


Germany, F.R. 


- 


473 


149 


170 


63 


Japan 


- 


- 


6 


- 


- 


Switzerland 


- 


- 


30 


40 


25 


USA 


2 


82 


- 


60 


10 


Total 


12 


558 


200 


290 


100 



100 



100 



Table 2 Reported countries of origin (or exporting country if no origin 
reported) and numbers of live Phelsmna comorensls reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Countries having or possibly having wild populations of P. comorensls 
Comores 10 536 200 290 100 100 

Countries without wild populations of P. comorensls 



F.R. Germany 
Seychelles 



5 
25 



Since no information is available on the population status of this species, it 
is not possible to assess the effect of trade. However, the number of animals 
exported from the Comores should be viewed with concern given the very 
restricted range of this species. 



CONSERVATION MEASURES 
ecology is required. 



Information on distribution, population status and 



CAPTIVE BREEDING Phelsuma spp. are reputedly easily bred. However no 

information is available to suggest that this species has been bred in 

captivity. A recent inventory (Slavens, 1985) listed 5 specimens in 3 
collections; there are however likely to be more. 

REFERENCES 

Blanc, C.P. (1972). Les reptiles de Madagascar et des lies voisines. 

In: Battistini, R. and Richard-Vindard, G. (eds). Blogeography and 

Ecology In Madagascar. Dr W. Junk, The Hague, pp 501-514. 
Meier, H. (1982). Zur Taxonomie und Okologie der Gattung Phelsuma auf den 

Seychellen mit Nachtragen zu dieser Gattung auf den Komoren. Salamandra 

18: 49-55. 
Mertens, R. (1966). Die nichtmadagassischen Arten und Unterarten der 

Geckonengattung Phelsuma. Senckenberglana blologlca 47: 85-110. 
Slavens, F.L. (1985). Inventory of live reptiles and amphibians in captivity 

current January 1, 1985. F.L. Slavens, Seattle, Washington, 341 pp. 

118 



Recommended list: 3 
[No problem] 
Pbelsuma dubla (Boetteger, 1881) 

Order SAURIA Family GEKKONIDAE 

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS A widely distributed species occurring in the 
Comores, Mayotte, Madagascar, Mozambique and Tanzania. Little is known of the 
population status or life history of this species. Habitat destruction may 
threaten it in parts of its range. It may occur within the Lokobe Reserve on 
Nosy Be in Madagascar. 

Over the six years 1980-1985 inclusive, minimum net trade in P. dubla 
reported to CITES amounted to 1660 live animals. The Comores were the largest 
exporter and F.R. Germany was the principal importer. 

It is not possible to indicate with certainty the effect that this trade has 
on the species since the population size is unknown. The level of recent 
trade does not appear excessive for such a wide-ranging gecko. Experts have 
warned against encouraging trade in Pbelsuma. 

DISTRIBUTION Known from Madagascar, the Comores, Mayotte, Tanzania 
(including Zanzibar) and Mozambique Island. 

Comores Inhabits the islands of Grande romore, Anjouan and Moh^li (Blanc, 
1972; Mertens, 1966). Angel (1942) and Mertens (1966) listed localities. 

Madagascar P. dubla may be found in the north-west, south-west, west and 
south-central regions as well as on the island of Nossi Be (Angel, 19A2; 
Blanc, 1972; Jenkins, 1987). 

Mayotte Recorded from Mayotte (Mertens, 1966), a dependency of France. 

Mozambique Recorded only from Mozambique Island (D.G. Broadley, in lltt., 
18 March 1986) . 

Tanzania Recorded from Zanzibar and the mainland of Tanzania (Loveridge, 
1957; Mertens, 1966) . 

POPULATION Apparently numerous around Majunga, Madagascar (Q. Bloxam, In 
lltt., 22 January 1986). No information is available for other parts of the 
range. 

HABITAT AND ECOLOGY Observed on coconut palms in Majunga (Q. Bloxam, In 
lltt., 22 January 1986) and on tree trunks and fences on Mozambique Island 
(D.G. Broadley, In lltt., 18 March 1986). No further information is 
available . 

THREATS TO SURVIVAL None known, but habitat destruction could presumably be 
a problem in certain parts of its range. No information has been found 
relating to exploitation of this species within the countries of origin. 

IWTERMATIOWAL TRADE Listed on Appendix II of CITES as Pbelsuma spp. were 
or were likely to be in trade and the species are difficult to differentiate. 
The only data available on trade are those contained in the Annual Reports of 
the Parties to CITES which are summarized in Tables 1 and 2. 



119 



Phelsuma dubla 

Table 1 Minimum net imports of live Phelsuma dubla reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Austria 


- 


Canada 


2 


Denmark 


4 


German D.R 


20 


Germany, F.R. 


110 


Japan 


- 


Spain 


- 


Surinam 


- 


Switzerland 


10 


UK 


- 


USA 


- 


Total 


146 


* Captive-bred 





- 


30 


12 


- 


- 


10 


- 


- 


50 


213 


203 


260 


_ 


4 


20 


- 


- 


3 
30 


- 


10 


10 


_ 


_ 


20 


- 


- 


- 


60 


2 * 


- 


30 



240 



292 



12 



190 



245 



300 



10 
25 * 

237 



Table 2 Reported countries of origin (or exporting country if no origin 
reported) and numbers of live Phelsuma dubla reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Countries having or possibly having wild populations of P. dubla 



Comores 134 240 290 

Countries without wild populations of P. dubla 



235 



300 



212 



Czechoslovakia 
Germany, F.R. 
Indonesia 
Mauritius 
Netherlands 
Sri Lanka 



2 

30 



2 + 2 
3 



21 
4 



10 



* Captive-bred 



Over the six years 1980-1985 inclusive, minimum net trade in P. dubla 
amounted to 1460 live animals. The Comores were the largest exporter, 
accounting for 971 of total specimens exported. Exports from Czechoslovakia, 
F.R. Germany and the Netherlands were likely to have been re-exports or 
captive bred specimens. The principal importer was F.R. Germany. 

In addition to the trade reported in this species, F.R. Germany and Austria 
reported imports from the Comores of unidentified Phelsuma species. These 
are likely to be one of the following species: Phelsuma comotensls , P. dubla, 
P. latlcauda , P. v-nlgra or P. robertmertensl . These were as follows: 
1980, 150 specimens; 1981, 20; 1983, 20; 1984, 30; 1985, 2. In 1983, 



120 



Phelsuma dubla 

Madagascar exported 32 live unidentified Phelsuma which could have included 
P. dubla. 

It is not possible to assess the precise effect of trade on the populations of 
P. dubla in the absence of population data. The number of identified 
specimens together with the possible addition of unidentified Phelsuma does 
not appear to be great enough to jeopardise the security of P. dubla, given 
its extensive distribution. Bloxam Un lltt., 22 January 1986), however, 
warned against encouraging trade in Phelsuma as did Gardner Un lltt., 23 
January 1986) and Thorpe (in lltt., 21 January 1986). 

COWSKRVATION MEASURES 

Comores No information. Not a Party to CITES. 

Madagascar All wildlife (except vermin) are protected under the Ordinance 
on hunting, fishing and the protection of Wildlife (3 October 1960). This 
provides for the requirement to obtain permits for the commercial hunting, 
possession, sale and of wildlife. It is possible that P. dubla occurs 
within the protected area of Lokobe on Nosy Be (Jenkins, 1987). 

Mayotte Mayotte is a dependency of France, intermediate in status between 
an Overseas Department and an Overseas Territory. It is not in the EEC, nor 
is it thought to be covered by the French ratification of CITES. 

Tanzania Under the Wildlife Conservation Act, No. 12, 30 June 1974 (amended 
Act No. 21, 1978), all vertebrates are protected and may not be killed, 
captured, traded, imported or exported without a permit. 

CAPTIVE BREEDING Phelsuma spp. are reputedly easily bred. Jacobi (1982, 
unpublished data) reported that, in the Netherlands, 6 were bred in 1977, A in 
1978, 23 in 1979, 92 in 1980 and 89 in 1981. CITES Annual Reports indicate 
the export of captive-bred animals from Indonesia, the Netherlands and 
Czechoslovakia. A recent inventory (Slavens, 1985) reported only 1 specimen 
in captivity; this is likely to be an underestimate. 

REFERENCES 

Angel, F. (1942). Les lizards de Madagascar. Memolres de I'Academle 

malgache 36: 1-193. 
Blanc, C.P. 1972. Les reptiles de Madagascar et des lies voisines. In: 

Battistini, R. and Richard-Vindard, G. (eds). Blogeography and Ecology 

In Madagascar. Dr W. Junk, The Hague, pp 501-614. 
Jenkins, M.D. (ed.) (1987). An environmental profile of Madagascar. lUCN 

Conservation Monitoring Centre, Cambridge, UK. 
Loveridge, A. (1957). Checklist of the reptiles and amphibians of East Africa 

(Uganda; Kenya; Tanganyika; Zanzibar). Bulletin of the Museum of 

Comparative Zoology 117(2): 153-362. 
Mertens, R. (1966). Die nichtmadagassischen Arten und Unterarten der 

Geckonengattung Phelsuma. Senckenberglana blologlca 47: 85-110. 
Slavens, F.L. (1985). Inventory of live reptiles and amphibians In captivity 

current January 1, 198S . F.L. Slavens, Seattle, Washington, 341 pp. 



121 



GOLDDUST DAY GECKO Reconunended list: 3* 

[No problem] 
Phelsuma latlcauda (Boettger, 1880) 

Order SAURIA Family GEKKONIDAK 

*See last paragraph of Summary and Conclusions 

SUMMARY AND CONCHJSIONS Widely distributed, occurring in the Comores, 
Mayotte, Madagascar and the Seychelles; observations indicate that 
P. latlcauda is usually abundant. Habitat alterations could affect this 
gecko. Possibly occurring in a reserve on Madagascar, the species is 
reputedly easily bred. 

Over the six years 1980-1985, minimum net trade in live P. latlcauda 
reported to CITES amounted to 5356 specimens, most of which were in 1985. The 
largest exporter overall was the Comores, but in 1985, Madagascar exported 641 
of all specimens. F.R. Germany, the USA, Switzerland, and latterly the 
Netherlands were the main importers. 

The trade in P. latlcauda does not appear to threaten populations of this 
species, particularly in view of its wide distribution. However, the high 
number of unidentified Phelsuma reported as exports from the Seychelles 
could, if it was correct and if all or the great majority were P. latlcauda, 
have caused significant pressure on local populations. The increasing exports 
form Madagascar are probably not excessive at present, but might become so if 
they were to continue. Expert opinion favours maintaining controls on trade. 

DISTRIBUTION A widely distributed species occurring in the Comores, 
Madagascar, Mayotte and the Seychelles (Blanc, 1972; Cheke , 1984). 

Comores P. 1. latlcauda has been found on Anjouan (Blanc, 1972; Mertens, 
1962). Rehndahl (1939) noted a subspecies, P. 1. comorensls, not identified 
in later work. 

Madagascar Both P. 1. latlcauda and P. 1. angularls have been reported 
from Madagascar; the species appears to be widespread on the main island, also 
on Nosy Be (Blanc, 1972; Mertens, 1964; Angel, 1942) 

Mayotte P. 1. latlcauda has been found on Mayotte (Mertens, 1962). 

Seychelles P. 1. latlcauda has been reported from Farquhar (Blanc, 1972; 
Cheke, 1984), Cerf (near Farquhar), Providence, St Anne and Cerf (Mahe group) 
(Cheke, 1984). 

POPULATION Abundant in the coastal regions of north Madagascar and the 
Comores, reaching a high density (Gardner, 1984). Apparently numerous on Nosy 
Be and Nosy Kamba (Q. Bloxam, Jtj lltt., 22 January 1986; A.S. Gardner, In 
lltt., 23 January 1986). Density has reached 672 per 100 trees on Farquar; 
the species is abundant here, and on Providence (A.S. Gardner, In lltt., 23 
January 1986) . 

HABITAT AND ECOLO(^ Observed on buildings on the edge of degraded forest in 
Nosy Be and Nosy Kamba (Q. Bloxam, In lltt., 22 January 1986). 

THREATS TO SURVIVAL Habitat alterations are occurring within the range of 

this species and could conceivably affect it. No information is available to 

indicate that this species is subject to exploitation within the countries of 
origin . 



122 



Phelsuma laticauda 

INTERNATIONAL TRADE Phelsuma spp. were originally included on CITES 
Appendix II as they were or could be subject to heavy pet trade and the 
species are difficult to tell apart. The only data on international trade are 
those contained in the Annual Reports of the Parties to CITES. 

Table 1 Minimum net imports of Phelsuma latlcauda reported to CITES. All 
specimens are live except 29 bodies for scientific purposes, indicated by #. 



1980 



* Captive-bred 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Argentina 










2 


2 


Austria 


- 


- 


30 


32 


10 


40 


Canada 


2 


- 


- 


- 


_ 


17 +8* 


Denmark 


20 


- 


22 


30 


_ 


- 


German D.R. 


20 


- 


- 


- 


- 


_ 


Germany, F.R. 


70 


670 


382 


770 


469 


1332 


Japan 


- 


- 


- 


_ 


25 


26 


Netherlands 


- 


- 


_ 


_ 


100 


325 


Spain 


- 


- 


- 


- 


10 


_ 


Suriname 


- 


- 


6 


- 


- 


- 


Switzerland 


50 


10 


40 


60 


53 


25 


UK 


- 


20 +29// 


- 


- 


_ 


50 


USA 


102 


170 


- 


10 


131 


178 +8* 


Total 


26« 


899 


480 


902 


800 


2011 



Table 2 Reported countries of origin (or exporting country if no origin 
reported) and numbers of Phelsuma latlcauda reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Comores 


20 


870 


Madagascar 


90 


25 


Seychelles 


- 


29 # 



650 
150 



700 
1295 



Countries having or possibly having wild populations of P. latlcauda 

480 892 
10 

Countries without wild populations of P. latlcauda 

t, - - - 



Czechoslovalcia 
Germany, F.R. 
Mauritius 2 

Netherlands 70 
Sri Lanlca 
Country unknown 100 

* Captive-bred 



25 

10 



15 

16 



123 



PheZsuma laticauda 

The great majority of reported trade was in live animals, presumably for the 
pet market. Over the six years 1980-1985, minimum net trade reported to CITES 
amounted to 5356 specimens, most of which were recorded in 1985. The largest 
exporter of P. laticauda overall was the Comores, but in 1985, Madagascar 
exported 64% of all specimens. The F.R. Germany was the largest importer of 
this gecko, the numbers imported remaining high over the whole period 
covered. The USA, Switzerland, and latterly the Netherlands were also 
significant importers. 

In addition to the trade reported in this species, the Seychelles reported 
exports of large quantities of unidentified Phelsuma species. These are 
likely to be one of the following species: Phelsuma abbottl , P. astrlata, P. 
laticauda, P. longlnsulae or P. sundbergl . These exports, mostly to The 
UK, F.R. Germany and the USA, were as follows: 1980, 60 specimens; 1981, 1015 
kg; 1982, 72 kg; 1983, 28 kg; 1984, 41 kg of bodies. The Comores also 
reported exports of unidentified Phelsuma species which are likely to be one 
of the following species: Phelsuma comorensls , P. dubla, P. laticauda, P. 
v-nlgra or P. robertmertensl . These exports, mostly to F.R. Germany and 
Austria, were as follows: 1980, 150 specimens; 1981, 20; 1983, 22; 1984, 30; 
1985, 2. 

The export of unidentified Phelsuma from the Seychelles could cause concern 
if the figures can be relied on and if all, or a substantial number, were to 
be P. laticauda. The trade could amount to several tens of thousands of 
specimens in 1981 which could make an impact on the wild populations. It 
should, however, be noted that no such shipments were reported as imports by 
other countries and it is possible that errors were made in the Annual Reports 
of the Seychelles to CITES. The export of unidentified Phelsuma from the 
Comores would not cause such concern even if they were all P. laticauda 
since the numbers involved were relatively small. 

The Golddust Day Gecko is apparently common over much of its extensive range, 
and therefore is unlikely to be deleter iously affected by the trade in this 
species which amounted to around 5356 specimens over six years. However, the 
recent substantial trade from Madagascar should be monitored and should the 
Seychelles trade in unidentified Phelsuma be predominantly P. laticauda, 
this could affect the wild populations there. Several experts have expressed 
reservations about the advisability of reducing the trade controls (Q. Bloxam, 
in lltt., 22 January 1986; A.S. Gardner, In lltt., 23 January 1986; R. 
Thorpe, In lltt., 21 January 1986). 

COWSERVATIOW MEASURES 

Comores No information. Not a Party to CITES. 

Madagascar All wildlife (except vermin) are protected under the Ordinance 
on hunting, fishing and the protection of Wildlife (3 October 1960). This 
provides for the requirement to obtain permits for the commercial hunting, 
possession, sale and of wildlife. It is possible that P. laticauda occurs 
within the protected area of Lokobe on Nosy B4 (Jenkins, 1987). 

Mayotte Mayotte is a dependency of France, intermediate in status between 
an Overseas Department and an Overseas Territory. It is not in the EEC, nor 
is it thought to be covered by the French ratification of CITES. 



CAPTIVE BREEDING Phelsuma spp. are reputedly easily bred. Jacobi (1982, 
unpublished records) reported the following captive breeding success in the 
Netherlands: 1972, 1 specimen; 1973, 2 specimens; 1974 10 specimens; 1976, 4 
specimens; 1977, 45 specimens; 1980, 79 specimens; 1981, 85 specimens. CITES 

124 



Phelsuma laticauda 

Annual Reports also indicate that captive-breeding is occurring in the 
Netherlands. A recent inventory (Slavens, 1985) reported 25 specimens of P. 
laticauda in 9 collections; the numbers are likely to be higher. 

REFERENCES 

Angel, F. (1942). Les lezards de Madagascar. Hemoires de 1' Academic de 

Malgache 36: 1-193. 
Blanc, C.P. (1972). Les reptiles de Madagascar et des iles voisines. In: 

Battistini R. and Richard Vindard, G. (eds) Blogeograpkg and Ecology In 

Madagascar . Dr W Junk, The Hague, pp. 501-614. 
Cheke, A.S. (1984). Lizards of the Seychelles. In: Stoddart, D.R. (ed.) 

Biogeogzaphg and ecology of the Seychelles Islands. Dr W Junk, The 

Hague, pp. 332-360. 
Gardner, A.S. (1984). The evolutionary ecology and population systematics of 

Day Geckoes (Phelsuma) in the Seychelles. Ph.D. Thesis, Aberdeen 

University . 
Jenkins, M.D. (ed.) (1987). An environmental profile of Madagascar. lUCN 

Conservation Monitoring Centre, Cambridge, UK, 374 pp. 
Mertens, R. (1962). Die Arten und Unterarten der Geckonengattung 

Phelsuma. Senckenberglana blologlca 43: 81-127 
Mertens, R. (1964). Funf neue Rassen die Geckonengattung Phelsuma. 

Senckenberglana blologlca 45: 99-112 
Mertens, R. (1966). Die Nichtmadagassischen Arten und Unterarten der 

Geckonengattun Phelsuma. Senckenberglana blologlca bl : 85-110. 
Rendahl, H. (1939). Zur Herpetologie der Seychellen, I. Reptilien. 

Zoologisches Jahrbuch 72: 157-328. 
Slavens, F.L. (1985). Inventory of live reptiles and amphibians in captivity 

current January 1. 2985. F.L. Slavens, Seattle, Washington, 341 pp. 



125 



Recommended list: 3 
[No problem] 
Phelsuma madagascArlensls Gray 1831 

Order SAURIA Family GEKKONIDAE 

SUMMARY AKD CONCLUSIONS Endemic to Madagascar, populations of this species 
occur over much of the island and the species seems to be abundant, at least 
in places. Known from forests, the loss of habitat by fire and for slash and 
burn cultivation could affect the status of this gecko. It may occur in the 
Reserve Naturelle Integrale de Lolcobe on Nosy B4. 

The minimum net trade in P. madagascarlensls reported to CITES from 1980 to 
1985 amounted to 2189 live animals and 33 scientific specimens. Levels of 
trade remained low until 198*, when Madagascar, the only country which has 
wild populations of this species, reported exporting substantial quantities. 
The main importers were F.R. Germany, the USA and the Netherlands. 

It is difficult to assess the significance of the trade, since nearly half of 
the specimens in trade appear to have been misidentif ied . The volume reported 
to CITES was not large, considering that the spec'es is widespread in 
Madagascar, and it is unlikely to have any adverse effects on the 
populations. However the trade from Madagascar seems to be increasing and it 
should continue to be monitored. Expert opinion does not favour encouraging 
trade in Phelsuma . 



DISTRIBUTION P. madagascarlensls is endemic to Madagascar (Blanc, 1972) 
and appears to occur in most parts of the island (Angel, 1942). 

POPULATION Little information is available on the population size of this 
species. In 19A2, Angel reported that it was very common around Diego Suarez 
and frequent in the forests of the north-west. Bloxam (in lltt., 23 January 
1986) considered that P. m. kochl and P. m. grandls could be fairly 
numerous . 

HABITAT AND ECOLO(rY South of Tamatave , P. madagascarlensls is found in 
coastal regions In the north-west it is known from forest (Angel, 1942). 
Bloxam (in lltt., 23 January 1986) observed P. m. kochl in the deciduous 
forest of Morandava and P. m. grandls in degraded forest on Nosy B6. 

THREATS TO SURVIVAL Vegetation destruction is likely to affect this 
species. Forest is disappearing for slash and burn cultivation and fire is 
also depleting the forest cover. Rice and manioc are being grown on Nosy B6 
(Jenkins, 1987). No information has been found relating to exploitation of 
this species within Madagascar. 

INTERNATIONAL TRADE Originally included on CITES Appendix II as Phelsuma 
spp. were or could be subject to heavy pet trade and the species are difficult 
to differentiate. The only data on international trade are those contained in 
the Annual Reports of the Parties to CITES (Tables 1 and 2). 

The minimum net trade in P. madagascarlensls reported to CITES from 1980 to 
1985 amounted to 2189 live animals and 33 scientific specimens. Levels of 
trade remained relatively low until 1984, when Madagascar, the only country 
which has wild populations of this species, reported exporting substantial 
quantities. The specimens reported as being exported from the Seychelles may 
be P. sundbergl (formerly P. madagascarlensls sundbergl) ; this Seychelles 
endemic is widespread and abundant (A.S. Gardner, In lltt., 23 January 
1986). Specimens exported from the Comores are likely to have been 



126 



Phelsuma madagascarlensls 

misidentif ied and could be one of the foUowing: P. comorensls . P. dubla, 
P. latlcauda, P. v-nlgza or P. robercmertensl . The main importers of 
P. madagascarlensls were F.R. Germany, the USA and the Netherlands. 



Table 1 Minimum net imports of Phelsuma madagascarlensls reported to CITES. 
All specimens were live except 33 scientific specimens, indicated by it. 





1980 


1981 


1982 


1983 


1984 


1985 


Austria 


_ 


_ 








32 +3* 


Canada 


- 


2 


8 


_ 


_ 


_ 


Denmark 


16 


- 


2 


_ 


17 « 


_ 


Germany, F.R. 


- 


75 


61 


87 


17 


682 


France 


- 


- 


- 


_ 


60 


_ 


Japan 


- 


- 


6 


14 


4 


26 


Netherlands 


- 


- 


- 


2 


200 


56 


Sweden 


- 


_ 


_ 


4 


_ 


_ 


Switzerland 


2 


- 


16 


34 


14 


15 +12* 


UK 


- 


33 # 


- 


- 


_ 


38 


USA 


titi 


54 


72 


8 


30 +134* 


162 +180* 


Total 


62 


164 


165 


149 


476 


1206 


* Captive-bred 















Table 2 Reported countries of export (or exporting country if no origin 
reported) and numbers of Phelsuma madagascarlensls reported to CITES. All 
specimens were live except 33 scientific specimens, indicated by it. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Countries with wild populations of P. madagascarlensls 

Madagascar _ _ _ _ 460 1169 

Countries without wild populations of P. madagascarlensls 



Austria 


- 


- 




- 


4 


- 


- 


Comores 


16 


30 




85 


34 


- 


- 


Czechoslovakia 


7 


- 




- 


- 


- 


- 


Germany, F.R. 


5 


15 




- 


- 


44 * 


- 


German D.R. 


- 


- 




- 


14 


6 * 


12 * 


Guyana 


- 


- 




- 


4 


- 


- 


Indonesia 


- 


- 




- 


- 


- 


12 * 


Mauritius 


20 


_ 




- 


- 


- 


- 


Netherlands 


_ 


_ 




_ 


4 


107 « 


168 « 


Seychelles 


- 


103 


+ 33* 


80 


103 


- 


- 


USA 


_ 


- 




8 


- 


- 


- 


Country unknown 


14 


- 




- 


10 


- 


- 



* Captive-bred 



127 



Pbelsuma madagascarlensls 

It is difficult to fully assess the trade in this species, an endemic of 
Madagascar, since nearly half of the specimens in trade appear to have been 
misidentif ied. The volume reported to CITES not large, considering that the 
species is widespread in Madagascar, and it is unlikely to have any adverse 
effects on the populations. However the trade from Madagascar seems to be 
increasing and it should continue to be monitored. Bloxam (In lltt., 22 
January 1986) considers that trade in Pbelsuma should not be encouraged. 

COHSERVATION MEASURES All wildlife (except vermin) are protected under the 
Ordinance on hunting, fishing and the protection of wildlife (3 October 
1960). This provides for the requirement to obtain permits for the commercial 
hunting, possession, sale and export of wildlife. It is likely that this 
species occurs in the Reserve Naturelle Integrale de Lokobe on Nosy B6 . 
(Jenkins, 1987). 

CAPTIVE BREEDING Pbelsuma spp. are reputedly easily bred. Jacobi (1982, 
unpublished data), reported that, in the Netherlands, 21 specimens were bred 
in 1972, 14 in 1978, 7 in 1979, 65 in 1980 and 97 in 1981. A recent inventory 
(Slavens, 1985) reported 111 specimens of P. m. grandls in 24 localities, 19 
specimens of P. m. kochl in 4 locations, 1 specimen of P. m. 
madagascarlensls in 1 location and 48 specimens of P. madagascariensls 
(subspecies unidentified) in 5 locations. This is likely to be an 
underestimate. CITES trade reports indicate that significant numbers may be 
being bred in the Netherlands and possibly also F.R. Germany. 

REFERENCES 

Angel, F. (1942) Les lizards de Madagascar. Memolres de 1 ' Academle 

malgacbe 36: 1-190 
Blanc, C.P. (1972). Les reptiles de Madagascar et des lies voisines. In: 

Battistini, R. and Richard-Vindard , G. (eds). Blogeograpby and Ecology 

In Madagascar. Dr. W. Junk, The Hague, pp 501-614. 
Borner, A.R. (1972). Revision der Geckonengattung Pbelsuma Gray 1825. 

Saurologla 1: 1-145. 
Jenkins, M.D. (1987). An environmental profile of Madagascar. lUCN 

Conservation Monitoring Centre, Cambridge, UK. 
Slavens, F.L. (1985). Inventory of live reptiles and amphibians In captivity 

current January 1, 19BS . F.L. Salvens, Seattle, Washington, 341 pp. 



128 



li 



Recommended list: 3 
[No problem] 
Phelsuma v-nlgra (Boettger, 1913) 

Order SAURIA Family GEKKONIDAE 



SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS Found in coastal regions of the Comores Islands and 
Mayotte; no data are available regarding status and life history. 
P. v-nlgra may be affected by habitat destruction. Reputedly easily bred in 
captivity . 

Minimum net trade in P. v-nigra reported to CITES amounted to 641 
specimens. All trade was in live animals, presumably for the pet trade. The 
principal exporter was the Comores where 901t of the reported trade 
originated. Those specimens reported from Mauritius and the Seychelles are 
likely to be wrongly identified specimens since this gecico does not occur in 
either locality. F.R. Germany and the USA were the main importers. 

Declared volume of trade is low and is unlikely to have a detrimental effect 

on the species as a whole, it is conceivable, however, that populations are 

locally affected. Expert opinion does not favour encouraging trade in 
Phelsuma spp. 



DISTRIBUTION Known only from the Comores and Mayotte. P. v-nlgra is 
sometimes considered a subspecies of P. abbottl . 

Comores Known only from islands of Grande Comore , Anjouan and Moh41i 
(Blanc, 1972; Mertens 1966). 

Mayotte Recorded from Mayotte (Mertens 1966). 

POPULATION No information. 

HABITAT AND ECOLOGY This species occurs in coastal regions up to altitudes 
of 300 m (Angel, 1942) . 

THREATS TO SURVIVAL Vegetation destruction is occurring and is par"- icularly 

serious on Anjouan where extensive areas of the coastal zone have been cleared 

(Tattersall, 1977). No information has been found relating to exploitation 
within the Comores. 

INTERNATIONAL TRADE The only data available are those contained in the 
Annual Reports of the Parties to CITES and are summarized in Tables 1 and 2. 

Minimum net trade in P. v-nlgra reported to CITES amounted to 641 
specimens. All trade was in live animals, presumably for the pet trade. The 
principal exporter was the Comores where 90% of the reported trade 
originated. Those specimens reported from Mauritius and the Seychelles are 
likely to be wrongly identified specimens since this gecko does not occur in 
either locality. F.R.Germany and the USA were the main importers. 

In addition to the trade in this species, imports of unidentified Phelsuma 
species were recorded from the Comores. These are likely to be one of the 
following species: Phelsuma comorensls, P. dubla, P. latlcauda, P. v-nlgra 
(all species treated under this contract) or P. zobertmertensl . These 
imports, mostly to F.R. Germany and Austria, were as follows: 1980, 150 
specimens; 1981, 20; 1983, 20; 1984, 30; 1985, 2. Should all the unidentified 



129 



Phelsuma v-nlgra 

Phelsuma spp. have been P. v-nigra, a possible addition of 222 specimens 
were in trade. The effect of this trade cannot be ascertained precisely since 
there are no data relating to population size or life history requirements. 
In view of the fact that this species is found on four islands, it is likely 
that there is no great impact on the species, although populations in 
accessible areas could be depleted. Bloxam (In lltt., 22 January 1986), 
Gardner (In lltt., 23 January 1986) and Thorpe (In lltt., 21 January 1986) 
all consider that trade in Phelsuma should not be encouraged. 



Table 1 Minimum net imports of live Phelsuma v-nlgra reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Austria 


- 


- 


_ 


2 


10 


Denmark. 


20 


- 


10 


5 


_ 


Germany, F.R. 


- 


48 


110 


123 


_ 


Switzerland 


30 


- 


20 


29 


_ 


UK 


- 


20 


- 


_ 


_ 


USA 


12 


112 


- 


- 


10 


Total 


62 


180 


140 


159 


20 



80 



80 



Table 2 Reported countries of origin (or exporting country if no origin 
reported) and numbers of live Phelsuma v-nlgta reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Countries having or possibly having wild populations of P. v-nlgia 

Comores 20 160 140 159 20 80 

Countries without wild populations of P. v-nlgra 

2 - _ _ _ 



Germany, F.R. 
Hauritus 
Netherlands 
Seychelles 



2 

10 
30 



20 



COWSERVATIOW MEASURES Information is required on the population status and 
ecology of this species. 

Comores No information. Not a Party to CITES. 

Mayotte Mayotte is a dependency of France, intermediate in status between 
an Overseas Department and an Overseas Territory. It is not in the EEC, nor 
is it thought to be covered by the French ratification of CITES. 

CAPTIVE BREEDING Phelsuma spp. are reputedly easily bred. Jacobi (1982, 
unpublished data) reported that, in the Netherlands, 10 P. v-nlgra were bred 
in 1978, 17 in 1979, 49 in 1980 and 35 in 1981. A recent inventory (Slavens, 

130 



Phelsuma v -nigra 

1985), only reported one specimen in captivity; this is likely to be an 
underestimate . 

REFERSWCKS 

Angel, F. (1942). Les lezards de Madagascar. Memolres de 1 ' Academle 

malgache 36: 1-190. 
Blanc, C.P. (1972). Les reptiles de Madagascar et des iles voisines. In: 

Battistini, R. and Richard Vindard, G. (eds). Blogeography and Ecology 

In Madagascar, Dr W. Junk., The Hague, pp 501-616. 
Mertens , R, (1966). Die nichtmadagassischen Arten und Unterarten der 

Geckonengattung Phelsuma. Senckenbergiana blologlca 47: 85-110 
Slavens, F.L. (1985). Inventory of live reptiles and amphibians In captivity 

current January 1, 198S . F.L. Slavens, Seattle, Washington, 341 pp. 
Tattersall, I. (1977). The lemurs of the Comore Islands. Oryx 

8(5): 445-448. 



131 



Recommended list: 3* 
[No problem] 
Chamaeleo bltaenlatus Fischer, 1884 

Order SAURIA Family CHAMAELEONIDAE 

*See last sentence of Summary and Conclusions 

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS Widespread in eastern Africa from Ethiopia and 
Sudan south through Kenya and Uganda to Tanzania, possibly including Somalia 
and Zaire; no information is available on the population status of 
C. bltaenlatus. Little is known of the life history in the wild, some 
studies have been made on captive specimens. Apparently difficult to maintain 
in captivity and requiring special conditions. Possibly found within 
protected areas. 

Trade in this species for the period 1980-83 was only reported in 1980 and 
1981, Kenya being responsible for all exports (around 3500 in total) and the 
F.R. Germany and USA importing most specimens. Export from Kenya (and thus 
all reported trade) appears to have ceased since 1981, despite 
C. bltaenlatus not being listed on 1981 legislation which specifically 
banned export of three other Kenyan Chameleon species. 

There is no evidence of the species, or local populations thereof, having been 
adversely affected by trade volumes as reported to CITES. Although unreported 
trade may exist, the known volume of international trade in the early 1980s is 
almost certain not to have been a significant problem. The inclusion in list 
3 is dependent on Kenya maintaining her apparent ban on export of the species. 

DISTRIBUTION Widespread; reported from Ethiopia and Sudan, south through 
Kenya, Uganda to north-west Tanzania (Loveridge, 1957; Mertens , 1966; Rand, 
1963), possibly including Somalia and north-eastern Zaire. 

Ethiopia Recorded from Addis Ababa, between Sancurrar and Amarr, and 
between Badditu and Oime (Rand, 1963). 

Kenya Most Kenyan records are from the Rift Valley and adjacent areas as 
far as Mt Elgon in the West (Rand, 1963; J. Hebrard, In lltt., 1 April 
1986). 

Somalia Although Loveridge (1957) reported that the distribution of C. b. 
bltaenlatus included Somalia, Rand (1963) indicated that the only record from 
Somalia (Coronna) was doubtful. Simonetta and Magnoni (1986) did not list the 
species from Somalia. 

Sudan Recorded from the Podocarpus forest on Mt Kinyeti in the Imantong 
Mountains (Bohme and Klaver, 1980). 

Tanzania Restricted to Longido West (Rand, 1963; K.M. Howell, in lltt., 
15 March 1986) . 

Uganda Loveridge (1957) reported that the distribution of C. b. 
bltaenlatus extended from Ethiopa and Kenya "south through Uganda". Rand 
(1963) recorded no specimens from Uganda, but included some from the Kenyan 
side of Mt Elgon. The locality in the Imantong Mountains of Sudan (Bohme and 
Klaver, 1980) is close to Uganda's northern border. 

Zaire Howell {In lltt., 15 March 1986) noted that this species occurred 
in north-eastern Zaire, but no other records have been located in the 
literature. 



132 



Cbamael eo hi taeni atus 

POPULATION No information available. This species is said to be small and 
extremely cryptic (J. Hebrard, In lltt., 1 April 1986), and so may be 
overlooked. 

HABITAT AND ECOLOGY A small and extremely cryptic chameleon. Occurs in 
grasslands, with or without scattered bushes, and attains high population 
density in stands of Acacia drepanoloblum (where ants form the main prey) 
(J. Hebrard, In lltt., 1 April 1986). 

A viviparous species; 3-4 broods may be produced per year, each with around 17 
young (Bustard, 1966; Schmidt and Inger, 1957; de Vosjoli, 1979). The 
gestation period is not accurately Icnown, but is at least three months. Both 
males and females tend to have a regular perch for basking and spending the 
night. 

THRSATS TO SURVIVAL None Icnown other than capture for the live animal trade. 

INTERNATIONAL TRADE The only data available on international trade are 
those contained in Annual Reports of the Parties to CITES which are summarized 
in Table 1. 

Table 1 Minimum net imports of live Chamaeleo bltaenlatus reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Germany, 


F.R. 


1460 


474 


Switzerl 


and 


90 


35 


UK 




- 


57 


USA 




500 


1010 


Total 




2050 


1576 



All specimens reported in trade were live, suggesting that they were intended 
for the pet trade. Trade only occurred in 1980 and 1981 and all reported 
exports originated in Kenya. The F.R. Germany and USA were the principal 
importers of this chameleon, talcing 531 and 421 of the total imports, 
respectively . 

Although no trade in this species took place after 1981, prior to that date, 
the reported trade did not seem unduly high in view of the extensive 
distribution of this species. Specimens were however taken from only a 
limited part of the total range. Since population and life history data are 
lacking, it is not possible to assess the true impact on wild populations. 

CONSERVATION MEASURES Unless otherwise stated, all of the information on 
protection is from lUCN Environmental Policy and Law Occasional Paper No. 3, 
African Wildlife Laws. 

Ethiopia Under the Wildlife Conservation (Amendment) Regulations, 12 
February 1974, Chameleons are classified as game, and may only be captured by 
licensed trappers and dealers under a Game Capture Permit, the value of which 
was set as EthSO.lO per animal. 



133 



Chamael eo hi taenl a tus 

Kenya Kenya has prohibited the export of three other species of chameleon, 

but these do not include C. bltaenlatus . There are several protected areas 

where this species may occur including the National Parks at Lake Nakuru, and 
Mt Kenya. 

Somalia A ban on all hunting was instituted on 13 October 1977. 

Sudan Chameleons are not listed in the Ordinance for the Preservation of 
Wild Animals, 1935 (Amended 1974), as species for which hunting is permitted. 
Licences are only required if firearms are used for hunting. The Hides and 
Skins (Export) Regulations, 1969, specify a grading system for the export of 
reptile skins. 

Tanzania Under the Wildlife Conservation Att, 30 June 1974, the capture of 
all live animals requires a valid capture permit, and the hunting of all 
animals requires a valid hunting permit. 

Uganda No reptiles, other than crocodiles, are protected. 

Zaire The commercial capture of unprotected animals requires a permit under 
the Hunting Act, 28 May 1982. Export can only be authorised if the exporter 
holds a certificate of lawful possession. 

CAPTIVE BREEDING Chameleons are reputedly difficult to keep in captivity 
over long periods. De Vosjoli (1979) provided details of suitable breeding 
conditions, particularly regarding temperature, humidity, lighting, cage size 
and layout and feeding; see also Bustard (1966). Formerly maintained at the 
Chameleon Research Center (de Vosjoli, 1979); this centre no longer exists. A 
recent inventory (Slavens, 1985) does not record any individuals in live 
collections, although there are likely to be some. 

REFERENCES 

Bohme, W and Klaver, C.J.J. (1980). The systematic status of Chamaeleo 

klnetensls Schmidt, 1943, (Sauria: Chamaeleonidae) from the Imantong 

Mountains, Sudan, with comments on lung and hemipenial within the 

C. bitaeniattis-group. Amphlbla-Reptilla 1(1): 3-17. 
Bustard, H.R. (1966). Observations on the life history and behaviour of 

C. bltaenlatus. Hezpetologia 22: 13-23. 
Loveridge, A. (1957). Checklist of the reptiles and amphibians of East Africa 

(Uganda, Kenya, Tanganyika, Zanzibar). Bulletin of the Museum of 

Comparative Zoology 117: 153-362. 
Hertens, R. (1966). Liste der rezenten Amphibien und Reptilien. Das 

Tlerrelch 83: 1-37. 
Rand, A.S. (1963). Notes on the Chamaeleo bltaenlatus complex. 

Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 130: 1-29. 
Schmidt, K.P. and Inger, R.I. (1957). Living reptiles of the world. 

Hamish Hamilton, 287 pp. 
Simonetta, A.M. and Magnoni, M.L. (1986). Status and conservation problems of 

Somali lower vertebrates. Revlsta dl Agrlcoltura Subtroplcale e 

Troplcale 53(3): 405-432. 
Slavens, F.L. (1985). Inventory of live reptiles and amphibians In captivity 

current January 1, 198S. F.L. Slavens, Seattle, Washington, 341 pp. 
de Vosjoli, P. (1979). The care, maintenance and breeding of the African 

Chamaeleo. Journal of the Chameleon Research Center 2: 7-38. 



134 



Chamaeleo gracilis Hallowell, 18A2 

Order SAURIA 

"See last sentence of Sunimary and Conclusions 



Recononended list: 3* 
[No problem] 



Family CHAHAELEONIDAE 



SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS A wide-ranging species, extending across tropical 
Africa from Senegal east to Somalia, and south to Zaire and Tanzania. Present 
in Angola, Equatorial Guinea (Bioko), Cameroon, Central African Republic, 
Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, 
Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zaire, and 
possibly Benin, Togo, Chad and Mali. Little information is available on the 
life history and population status of C. gracilis. An insectivore which 
prefers open country, international trade is the only known possible threat. 
Breeding can occur in captivity, but chameleons are reputedly difficult to 
maintain . 

Declared trade in the period 1980-85 was only reported in 1980, 1981 and 1985 
and amounted to a total of around 2200 specimens. The principal importers 
were the USA and F.R. Germany. Kenya was responsible for the export of 7711 of 
all specimens exported in 1981 and 1982, but then the Kenyan export ceased 
following legislation to prohibit trade. Tanzania and Togo were the main 
suppliers in 1985. 

It is unlikely that the relatively low volume of trade declared up to 1981 had 
a deleterious affect on the species, although in the absence of population and 
life history data this cannot be stated with certainty, and it is possible 
that populations were affected locally. International trade cannot be 
regarded as a significant threat to the species, provided that there is no 
appreciable unreported trade and that the Kenyan export ban remains effective. 



DISTRIBUTION 



very wide-ranging species, C. gracilis extends across 



tropical Africa from Senegal east to Somalia, and south to Zaire and 
Tanzania. Present in Angola, Equatorial Guinea (Bioko), Cameroon, Central 
African Republic, Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, 
Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, 
Uganda, Zaire (Loveridge, 1957; Mertens, 1966; Schmidt 1919), and possibly 
Benin, Togo, Chad and Mali (Groombridge, 1983). The nominate form 
C. g. gracilis occupies most of the range, giving way to C. g. etlennel in 
Gabon, Congo, Zaire and Angola (Mertens, 1966). 



Angola C. 9. etlennel 
Laurent, 1964). 



has been recorded from Angola (Mertens, 1966; 



Benin Not recorded by Mertens (1966), although as it occurs in nearby 
countries, Nigeria and Ghana, it might be expected to occur there and was 
listed by Groombridge (1983). Loveridge (1957) pointed out that it had not 
been recorded from Dahomey. 

Cameroon C. g. gracilis was recorded by Mertens (1966). 

Central African Republic C. g. gracilis was recorded by Mertens (1966). 

Chad Listed as present by Groombridge (1983), but no record has been 
located. 



135 



Chamaeleo gracilis 

Congo Both C. g. gracilis and C. g. etlennel were recorded from Congo 
(Brazzaville) (Mertens, 1966). Loveridge (1957) stated that C. g. gracilis 
had not been recorded from the French Congo. 

Djibouti Groombridge (1983) listed the species as probably occurring in 
Djibouti, but this seems unlikely as in neighbouring Somalia it appears to be 
confined to the south (Simonetta and Magnoni, 1986). 

Equatorial Giunea C. burchelll, listed as a synonym of C. g. gracilis 
by Mertens (1966), was recorded from Fernando Poo (Bioko), although Mertens 
did not include either the island or the mainland of Equatorial Guinea in his 
distribution. 

Ethiopia C. g. gracilis was recorded by Mertens (1966). 

Gabon Both C. g. gracilis and C. gr. etlennel were recorded from Gabon 
(Mertens, 1966). 

Gambia Recorded by Hakansson (1981). 

Ghana C. g. gracilis was recorded by Mertens (1966). 

Guinea C. g. gracilis was recorded by Mertens (1966). 

Ivory Coast C. g. gracilis was recorded by Mertens (1966). 

Kenya Occurs in two different habitats in Kenya: arid thorn scrub and 
semi-desert; and well watered agricultural land in western Kenya (J.L Hebrard, 
In lltt. , 1 April 1986) . 

Liberia C. g. gracilis was recorded by Mertens (1966). 

Mali Listed as present by Groombridge (1983), but no record has been 
located. 

Nigeria C. g. gracilis was recorded by Mertens (1966). Butler and Shitu 
(1985) described traditional uses of the species in Nigeria. 

Senegal C. g. gracilis was recorded by Mertens (1966). 

Sierra Leone C. g. gracilis was recorded by Mertens (1966). 

Somalia Recorded from Middle Shebelle, Mogadishu, Lower Shebelle, Bay, Gedo 
and Lower Juba, all in southern Somalia (Simonetta and Magnoni, 1986). 

Sudan C. g. gracilis was recorded by Mertens (1966). 

Tanzania Found only at Longido and Mt Meru in northern Tanzania (K.M. 
Howell, In lltt., 15 March 1986). 

Togo Not recorded by Mertens (1966), although as it occurs in nearby 
countries, Nigeria and Ghana, it might be expected to occur there, and was 
listed by Groombridge (1983). 

Uganda C. g. gracilis was recorded by Mertens (1966). 

Zaire Both C. g. gracilis and C. g. etlennel were recorded from Zaire 
(Mertens, 1966) Lanza and Vanni (1976) recorded C. g. gracilis from the 
north. 



136 



Chamaeleo gracilis 

POPULATION Virtually no information is available on the population size of 
this animal. Marked population fluctuations have been noted in dry parts of 
the range (J. Hebrard, in lltt., 1 April 1986). 

Congo C. gzacllls is said to be very abundant in the country (Congo CITES 
MA, 1986). 

Kenya In Tsavo National Park., for example, the habitat may become uniformly 
saturated with young animals when they hatch during the short rains (around 
November); most of these subsequently die and only a few isolated adults may 
remain by the time of the long rains (April). The species was said to be 
extremely rare in Kora National Reserve in 1984 (J. Hebrard, in lltt., 1 
April 1986) . 

Sudan Schmidt (1919) reported that C. gracilis was abundant in the east. 

HABITAT AND ECOLOGY Apparently an inhabitant of open country, although 
occasionally recorded from forest (in Cameroon and Liberia) (Schmidt, 1919). 
The species occurs in two distinct habitats in Kenya; in well-watered 
agricultural land in western Kenya, and in arid thorn scrub and semi-desert in 
other parts of the country (J. Hebrard, in lltt., 1 April 1986). Lanza and 
Vanni (1976) recently collected specimens in a savannah habitat in Zaire. 

This species deposits its eggs in a hole dug in the ground. The eggs are laid 
when the rainy season is ending and hatching occurs before the next rains 
(Menzies, 1958). Schmidt (1919) reported that C. g. gracilis lives chiefly 
on Orthoptera and that C. g. etlennel feeds on a variety of insects 
especially grasshoppers, crickets, cockroaches and flies. 

THREATS TO SURVIVAL Butler and Shitu (1985) reported that the Yorubas in 
Nigeria use various parts of C. gracilis in tribal medicine. They also 
believe that stepping in the excreta causes elephantiasis. In Congo, the only 
use is said to be in traditional medecine (Congo CITES MA, 1986). No exports 
are said to have originated in Uganda, and the chief threat is thought to be 
from fires in the dry season (Uganda Game Department, in lltt., 28 March 
1987) . 

INTERNATIONAL TRADE The only available data are those provided in the 
Annual Reports of the Parties to CITES which are summarized in Tables 1 and 
2. This species was only reported in trade in 1980, 1981 and 1985. The 
principal importers were the USA and F.R. Germany. The specimens imported by 
the G.D.R. in 1980 were re-exports from the F.R. Germany. Kenya was 
responsible for the export of 77% of all specimens exported in 1981 and 1982, 
but then the Kenyan export ceased following legislation to prohibit trade. 
Tanzania and Togo were the main suppliers in 1985. 

Table 1 Minimum net imports of live Chameleo gracilis reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Germany, F.R. 


350 


230 


German D.R. 


30 


_ 


UK 


300 


34 


USA 


375 


503 



Total 



1055 



767 



370 

5 
375 



137 



Chamaeleo gracilis 

Table 2 Reported countries of origin (or exporting country if no origin 
reported) and numbers of live Cbamaeleo gracilis reported to CITES. 



1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 



Countries having wild populations of C. gracilis 



Ghana 


300 


Kenya 


755 


Tanzania 


- 


Togo 


- 



692 



Country unknown - 75 



250 
120 



Exports until 1985 were not so large as to cause concern for the overall 
status of this species, however, populations in accessible regions could be 
affected. The precise effects of trade in this species cannot however be 
ascertained since population and life history data are laclcing. 



CONSERVATION MEASURES Unless otherwise stated, all of the information on 
protection is from lUCN Environmental Policy and Law Occasional Paper No. 3, 
African Wildlife Laws. 

Angola Apparently not protected. 

Benin Chameleons are not protected. 

Cameroon Under the Forests, Wildlife and Fisheries Act, 27 November 1981, 
bag limits are set for the hunting of all species. 

Central African Republic The Ordinance concerning the protection of 

wildlife and regulating hunting, 27 July 1984, does not list chameleons, but 

all wildlife species may only be taken by customary hunters or by the holders 
of hunting licences. 

Chad No information. 

Congo The Act concerning the conservation and exploitation of wild fauna, 
21 April 1983, vests in the State ownership of all wild animals of economic 
value, and requires the issuing of licences for commercial capturing. 

Ethiopia Under the Wildlife Conservation (Amendment) Regulations, 12 
February 1974, Chameleons are classified as game, and may only be captured by 
licensed trappers and dealers under a Game Capture Permit, the value of which 
was set as Eth$0.10 per animal. 

Gabon The Wildlife and Forests Act, 22 July 1982 requires the issuing of 
licences for the commercial capture of all wildlife. Traditional hunting for 
subsistence pruposes is permitted. 

Gambia Under the Wildlife Conservation Act, 14 February 1977, all wildlife 
except game and vermin are protected. 



138 



Chamaeleo gracilis 

Ghana The Wildlife Conservation Regulations, 6 March 1971, define all 
wildlife, other than protected species, as game animals and establish hunting 
restrictions . 

Guinea No information. 

Guinea-Bissau The Hunting Regulations, 12 May 1980, require the issuance of 
a licence for the capturing of live wild animals. 

Ivory Coast Chameleons are not specifically listed in the Wildlife and 
Hunting Act, 6 August 1965, but Arrete No. 15, 26 December 1972, establishes 
licence fees for the capturing of all live reptiles. 

Kenya Kenya has prohibited the export of C. gracilis unless the written 
permission of the Minister for Environment and Natural Resources is obtained 
(Legal Notice 152, 25 September, 1981). 

Liberia Apparently not protected. 

Mali A general hunting ban (Decree 325/PG-RM) throughout the country was 
imposed on 6 November 1978. 

Nigeria Apparently not protected. 

Senegal The Game and Wildlife Protection Regulations, 30 May 1967, lay down 
regulations governing the issuance of licences for hunting and commercial 
capturing of wildlife. 

Sierra Leone Apparently not protected. 

Somalia A ban on all hunting was instituted on 13 October 1977. 

Sudan Chameleons are not listed in the Ordinance for the Preservation of 
Wild Animals, 1935 (Amended 1974), as species for which hunting is permitted. 
Licences are only required if firearms are used for hunting. The Hides and 
Skins (Export) Regulations, 1969, specify a grading system for the export of 
reptile skins. 

Tanzania Under the Wildlife Conservation Act, 30 June 1974, the capture of 
all live animals requires a valid capture permit, and the hunting of all 
animals requires a valid hunting permit. 

Togo Apparently not protected. 

Uganda No reptiles, other than crocodiles, are protected. 

Zaire The commercial capture of unprotected animals requires a permit under 
the Hunting Act, 28 May 1982. Export can only be authorised if the exporter 
holds a certificate of lawful possession. 

CAPTIVE BREEDING Menzies (1958) described the breeding behaviour of this 
chameleon in captivity and reported that a captive specimen laid 45 soft 
shelled eggs, which hatched after 219 days. De Vosjoli (1979) provided 
guidance on the care, breeding and maintenance of the African chameleons, 
which are difficult to maintain over a long period of time. Formerly kept at 
the Chameleon Research Center (Riva, 1979); this centre no longer exists. A 
recent inventory (Slavens, 1985) reported that three specimens were maintained 
in two collections. This is likely to be an underestimate. 

139 



Chajnaeleo gracilis 

REFERENCES 

Butler. J. A. and Shitu, E. (1985). Uses of some reptiles by the Yoruba people 

of Nigeria. Herpetologlcal Review 16(1): 1516. 
Groombridge, B. (1983). World checklist of threatened amphibians and 

reptiles. 3rd Edition. Nature Conservancy Council, UK, 65 pp. 
Hakansson, N.T. (1981). An annotated checklist of reptiles known to occur in 

the Gambia. Journal of Herpetology 15: 155-161. 
Lanza, B. and Vanni, S. (1976). On a small collection of reptiles from north 

Zaire. Monltore Zoologlca Itallano 8(3): 129-160. 
Laurent, R.F. (1964). Reptiles ct amphibiens de I'Angola (Troisi^me 

contribution). Mus . Dundo Publ . Cult. 67: 1-165. 
Loveridge, A. (1957). Checklist of the reptiles and amphibians of East Africa 

(Uganda, Kenya, Tanganyika, Zanzibar). Bulletin of the Museum of 

Comparative Zoology 117:153-362. 
Menzies, J.I. (1958). Breeding behaviour of the Chameleon (Chamaeleo 

gracilis) in Sierra Leone. British Journal of Herpetology 2: 130-132. 
Mertens, R. (1966). Liste der rezenten Amphibien und Reptilien. 

Chamaeleonidae. Das Tlerrelch 8: 31-37 
Riva, D. (1979). Present CRC Breeding Projects. Journal of the Chameleon 

Research Center 2: 4. 
Schmidt, K.P. (1919). Contributions to the herpetology of the Belgian Congo 

based on the collection of the American Museum Congo Expedition 

1909-1915. Part 1. Turtles, Crocodiles, Lizards and Chamaeleons. 

Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 39: 385-624. 
Simonetta, A.M. and Magnoni, M.L. (1986). Status and conservation problems of 

Somali lower vertebrates. Revista di Agrlcoltura Suhtroplcale e 

Troplcale 53(3): 405-432. 
Slavens, F.L. (1985). Inventory of live reptiles and amphibians In captivity 

current January 1, 2985. F.L. Slavens, Seattle, Washington, 341 pp. 
de Vosjoli, P. (1977). The care, maintenance and breeding of the African 

Chamaeleo. Journal of the Chameleon Research Center 2: 7-42. 



140 



RGCommended list: 3* 
[No problem] 
Chaiaaeleo hoebnelll Steindachner 1891 

Order SAURIA Family CHAMAELEONIDAE 

*See last sentence of Summary and Conclusions 



SUMMARY AND COWCLUSIOMS Found in upland areas of Kenya and Uganda, 
C. hoehnelll is known to be abundant in some areas and thrives in areas of 
dense human habitation. An inhabitant of forest edges and low shrubby 
vegetation, this viviparous species may produce around 1« young twice a year. 
Probably occurring within some protected areas, no specific threats to this 
species are known. It will breed regularly under correct conditions but is 
reputedly difficult to maintain in captivity for any length of time. 

The only reported trade in the period 1980-85 was in 1980, 1981 and 1985 and 
totalled some 12 700 specimens; 90% of these were recorded as origin Kenya. 
Export from Kenya appears to have ceased since 1981, despite C. hoehnelll 
not being listed on 1981 legislation which specifically banned export of three 
other Kenyan Chameleon species. 

The legal status of this species in Kenya should be determined. It is 
possible that the relatively high volume of trade recorded in 1980 and 1981 
could have led to local depletions, but if, in addition to the apparent 
cessation of reported trade since 1981, there has been no appreciable 
unreported trade, international trade is most unlikely to pose a significant 
threat to the species. 



DISTRIBUTION Known from Kenya and Uganda. 

Kenya Loveridge (1957) reported it from the highlands of Kenya. Rand 
(1963) listed localities in south-western Kenya between 1660 m and 3050 m. 

Uganda Loveridge (1957) reported it from the highlands of eastern Uganda 
(Mt Elgon). Rand (1963) listed localities between 1220 m and 3350 m. 

POPULATION The species may be extremely abundant in some suitable habitats 
(J. Hebrard, In lltt., 1 April 1986). Abundant at Karatina (Kenya) (Lin and 
Nelson, 1981). Apparently increasing in the Aberdare range in Kenya, where it 
may be displacing C. Jacksonll (Riva, 1979). No data are available for 
other parts of its range. 

HABITAT AND ECOLOGY Restricted to well watered upland habitats above about 
1600 m; may be extremely abundant in forest edges, hedgerows and in ornamental 
vegetation - appears to thrive in areas of dense human habitation (J. Hebrard, 
In lltt., 1 April 1986). Known at altitudes up to 11 000 feet (3350 m) on 
the west slope of the Mt Elgon and above 3000 m in the Aberdare range (Rand, 
1963; Hebrard et al . , 1982). Found in the tree heath zone immediately below 
the alpine zone in the Aberdare mountains (Loveridge, 1935); at Karatina 
(Kenya), found principally in small localized areas of open secondary scrub 
and rarely on trees over 2 m high (Lin and Nelson, 1981). Hebrard et al . 
(1982) found this species inhabiting shrubs in bushland. 

Females mature at approximately 9.5 months old and males about one month later 
(Lin and Nelson, 1981). This viviparous species breeds throughout the year, 
females producing 2 litters of young a year in the wild. The average litter 
size is 13.7 and newborn young measure less than 30 mm SVL. Mean longevity 



lAl 



Chamaeleo hoehnelll 

for females is 2.3 years. (Lin and Nelson, 1981). Young take insects 
(Bustard, 1965). Frequently basics on trees (Lin and Nelson, 1981). Shows 
particular adaptations to the low temperatures typical of high altitude 
(Bustard, 1965; Hebrard et al . , 1982). 

THREATS TO SURVIVAL None known other than trade (see below). 



INTERNATIONAL TRADE The only data 



international trade are those 



contained in the Annual Reports of the Parties to CITES which are summarized 
in Tables 1 and 2. All reported trade was in live animals. 

Table 1 Minimum net imports of live Chamaeleo hoehnelll reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Denmark. 


10 


- 


Germany, F.R. 


2146 


1455 


German D.R. 


50 


- 


Switzerland 


154 


140 


UK 


25 


107 


USA 


3975 


4640 



Total 



6360 



6342 



25 
25 



Table 2 Reported countries of origin (or exporting country if no origin 
reported) and numbers of live of Chamaeleo hoehnelll reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Countries having or possibly having wild populations of C. hoehnelll 
Kenya 6060 5417 - _ _ 

Countries without wild populations of C. hoehnelll 

2 - - _ _ 



Germany, F.R 
Mozambique 



Country unknown 300 



25 



925 



Trade in this species was only reported for the years 1980, 1981 and 1985. 
During this period, Kenya was the largest exporter of C. hoehnelll, 
accounting for 90^ of all specimens reported in export, although no Kenyan 
specimens were reported after 1981. The USA and F.R. Germany were the largest 
importers taking 68X and 28% respectively of the total imports. 



The trade volume reported to CITES in 1980 and 1981 is relatively large, 
however, it seems most unlikely that this could have any significant effect on 
the species in view of its frequent abundance (including around human 
habitation). Trade could perhaps reduce populations in easily accessible 
areas. There has been no recent trade in the species other than a single 
shipment from Mozambique, where the species does not occur. 



142 



Chamaeleo hoehnelil 

COWSKRVATION MEASURES There are several protected areas where this species 
may occur. These include the National Parks at Lake Nakuru, Mt Elgon and Mt 
Kenya. Additional data are required on the population status of this species. 

Kenya Kenya has prohibited the export of three other species of chameleon, 
but these do not include C. hoehnelll . 

Uganda No reptiles, other than crocodiles, are protected. 

CAPTIVE BREEDING This species apparently breeds regularly in the correct 
conditions and Angel (1933) and Bustard (1965) reported live births of captive 
specimens. Chameleons are however difficult to maintain in captivity for a 
long time and suitable environmental conditions have to be produced. De 
Vosjoli (1979) described the care and conditions required for breeding. A 
recent inventory (Slavens, 1985) did not record any collections of this 
species, but did note that some had existed. 

REFERENCES 

Angel, M.F. (1933). Sur la naissance de jeunes cam^l^ons au vivarium du 

museum. Bulletin du Musee national d' Hlstoire naturelle 2eme series 

5: 360-362. 
Bustard, H.R. (1965). Observations on the life history and behaviour of 

Chamaeleo hoehne 11 ( Steindachner ) . Copela 1965(4): 401-410. 
Hebrard, J.J., Reilly, S.M., Guppy, M. (1982). Thermal ecology of Chamaeleo 

hoehnelll and Mabuya varla in the Aberdare Mountains: Constraints of 

heterothermy in an alpine habitat. Journal of the East African Natural 

History Society and National Museum 176: 1-7. 
Lin, J.Y. and Nelson, C.E. (1981). Comparative reproductive biology of two 

sympatric tropical lizards Chamaeleo jacksonll Boulenger and Chamaeleo 

hoehnelll Steindachner (Sauria: Chamaeleonidae) . Amphlbla-Reptllla 1 

(3/4): 287-311. 
Loveridge, A. (1935). Scientific results of an expedition to rainforest 

regions in eastern Africa. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative 

Zoology 79(1) : 1-19. 
Loveridge, A. (1957). Checklist of the reptiles and amphibians of East Africa 

(Uganda, Kenya, Tanganyika and Zanzibar). Bulletin of the Museum of 

Comparative Zoology 117: 142-362. 
Rand, A.S. (1963). Notes on the Chamaeleo bltaenlatus complex. Bulletin 

of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 130: 1-29. 
Riva, D. (1979). The chameleons dismal future and the need for conservation. 

Journal of the Chameleon Research Center 2: 3. 
Slavens, F.L. (1985). Inventory of live reptiles and amphibians In captivity 

current January 1, 2985. F.L. Slavens, Seattle, Washington, 341 pp. 
de Vosjoli, P. (1977). The care, maintenance and breeding of the African 

Chamaeleo. Journal of the Chameleon Research Center 2: 7-42. 



143 



THREE-HORNED CHAMELEON Reconmiended list: 2* 

[Possible problem] 
Chamaeieo jacksonll Boulenger, 1896. 

Order SAURIA Family CHAMAELEONIDAE 

* The category has been changed from 3 to 2 since approval by the CITES TEC 
Committee meeting in 1986. 

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS Inhabits highland regions in Kenya and Tanzania; 
one of the two subspecies, C. j. merumontanus , is found only at Mt Meru in 
Tanzania. Little information is available on population status. An 
ovovi viparous species, producing around 22 young once a year. The 
Three-horned Chameleon probably occurs within several protected areas and is 
export from Kenya is prohibited. Apparently difficult to maintain in 
captivity for any length of time, captive breeding has taken place. 

Recorded trade in this species in the period 1980-85 only took place in 1980, 
1981 and 1985, and amounted to c . 26 600 specimens. It appears to have been 
the most heavily traded Chamaeieo species in 1980/81. At that time, 9111 of 
the number in trade were recorded as originating in Kenya. The only trade 
since then has been from Tanzania, and may therefore be of C. j. 
merumontanus. Most specimens were imported by the USA and F.R. Germany. 
Kenyan legislation (enacted in 1981) appears to have effectively stopped its 
exports . 

It is not possible to assess the impact of previous trade on the overall 
population status since detailed population data are lacking. Local 
populations in accessible areas could have been affected but the species as a 
whole is most unlikely to be significantly threatened by trade, providing, 
firstly, that Kenya's protective legislation continues to be implemented, and 
secondly, that there is no appreciable unreported trade. The subspecies 
C. J. merumontanus is particularly vulnerable due to its restricted 
distribution. As its only known range (Mt Meru) is a game reserve, it is 
difficult to see how any could have been legally acquired. The recent trade 
from Tanzania is therefore of greater concern. 



DISTRIBUTION Inhabits highlands in Kenya and Tanzania. Two subspecies are 
recognised, C. j. jacksonll being endemic to Kenya and C. j. merumontanus 
to Tanzania. 

Kenya C. ]. jacksonll occurs in the uplands from Mt Kenya south to 
Nairobi (Loveridge, 1957; Mertens, 1966; Rand, 1958). It also occurs in the 
Aberdare range and around Karatina (Lin and Nelson, 1981; Riva, 1979b). 

Tanzania C. j. merumontanus is only known from Mt Meru, Tanzania, where 
it has been found at altitudes of 7500 - 9000 feet (Rand, 1958). Loveridge 

(1957) stated that C. j. jacksonll also occurred in Tanzania, but Rand 

(1958) pointed out that this was incorrect, the only specimen from Tanzania 
being correctly attributable to C. j. merumontanus. 

POPULATION No information is available on the overall status of this 
species. Density can be very high locally, in various secondary habitats as 
well as in native forest (J. Hebrard, In lltt., 1 April 1986). 

Kenya Abundant around Karatina, Kenya, in 1981 (Lin and Nelson, 1981). 
Said to be disappearing from the Aberdare mountain range due to 
over-collecting and a population explosion of C. hoehnelll (Riva, 1979b). 



144 



Tanzania The population of C. j. 
limited due to its restricted range. 



merumontanus 



Chamaeleo jacksonli 
lilcely to be very 



HABITAT AND ECOLOGY A comparatively large species of chameleon, inhabiting 
highland areas up to 2000 m (de Vosjoli, 1979a). Occurs primarily in forest 
and former forest, but also in coffee plantations where some original trees 
have been left standing, and in stands of ornamental or exotic trees, and in 
hedges in Nairobi (J. Hebrard, In lltt., 1 April 1986). Around Karatina C. 
jacksonli occurred predominantly in woodlands mixed with herbs and shrubs 
particularly above 2 m, and rarely in thick undergrowth. Bushes were the 
principal perch site (Lin and Nelson, 1981). On Mt Meru, C. j. mezumontanus 
was found in bushes and in low trees (Rand, 1958). 

This species is ovoviviparous (Lawrence, 1985). Females mature at around 13.5 
months and males 3 months later. Copulation has been observed from March to 
May, parturition occurring from mid January to March. The average litter size 
is around 22 animals, the new born ranging from 25-32 mm SVL. Birth talces 
place during the period of maximum insect abundance (Lin and Nelson, 1981). 

THREATS TO SURVIVAL An increase in numbers of C. hoehnelll is said to be 
reducing numbers of C. jacksonli in the Aberdares. Apparently heavily 
exploited in the Aberdares by collectors for the pet trade (Riva, 1979b). 

INTERNATIONAL TRADE The only information available on the international 
trade are data contained in the Annual Reports of the Parties to CITES which 
are summarized in Tables 1 and 2. 

All the figures represent live specimens primarily in trade for commercial 
purposes, suggesting that they were destined for the pet trade. Kenya was the 
chief exporting country over the years 1980-1981, exporting 24 345 specimens, 
91% of the total in trade. The majority of these chameleons were exported in 

1980. The principal importing countries were the USA and F.R. Germany, 
accounting for 7311 and 2411 respectively of all imports reported in 1980 and 

1981. The Netherlands re-exported a total of 190 specimens which originated 
largely from Kenya. De Vosjoli (1979b) reported that this is the most 
frequently imported chameleon (to the USA). 



Table 1 Minimum net imports of live Cbamaeleo jacksonli reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Argentina 


6 


7 


Austria 


- 


10 


Canada 


174 


35 


Denmark 


10 


- 


Germany, F.R. 


4681 


1595 


German D.R. 


60 


- 


Italy 


- 


12 


Japan 


- 


13 


Switzerland 


224 


135 


UK 


50 


600 


USA 


12491 


6580 



250 



Total 



17696 



8997 



250 



145 



Chamaeleo jacksonll 

Table 2 Reported countries of origin (or exporting country if no origin 
reported) and numbers of live Chamaeleo jacksonll reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Countries having or possibly having wild populations of C. jacksonll 



Kenya 
Tanzania 



17130 



7215 



250 



Countries without wild populations of C. jacksonll 



Germany, F.R. 
Thailand 



Country unknown 510 



1735 



Relatively large numbers have been reported in trade, however, the overall 
effect on the species is most unlikely to be significant. It is not 
inconceivable that numbers of the species could be reduced in accessible 
areas. No trade from Kenya has been reported since 1981. The only trade 
since then has been from Tanzania, and may therefore be of C. j. 
merujnontanus . Since this sub-species has such a restricted distribution, it 
could be particularly vulnerable to any trade. As its only known range (Mt 
Meru) is a game reserve, it is difficult to see how any could have been 
legally acquired. 

COMSERVATION MEASURES Data are required on the population status of this 
species . 

Kenya The Aberdare Mountain range is a National Park. Kenya has prohibited 
the export of this species without written permission from the Minister for 
Environment and Natural Resources (under Legal Notice 152 enacted on 25 
September 1981) . 

Tanzania Under the Wildlife Conservation Act, No. 12, 30 June 1974 (amended 
Act No. 21, 1978), all vertebrates are protected and may not be killed, 
captured, traded, imported or exported without a permit. Mount Meru Is 
protected as a Game Reserve. 

CAPTIVE BREEDING De Vosjoli (1979b) produced guidelines on the care, 
maintenance and breeding of the African chameleons, which are apparently 
difficult to maintain in captivity. This included information on feeding, 
lighting, temperature, humidity and environment. C. jacksonll requires 
large enclosures. Formerly maintained at the Chameleon Research Center (Rlva, 
1979a); this centre no longer exists. A recent inventory (Slavens, 1985) 
reported six specimens in three collections. This may be an underestimate. 
It is the only chameleon to have been bred over three generations (Lawrence, 
1985). 

REFERENCES 

Lawrence, K. (1985). Lizards. In: Cooper, J.E., Hutchinson, M.F., Jackson, 
O.F. and Maurice, R.J. (eds). Manual of exotic pets. British Small 
Animal Veterinary Association, Cheltenham, pp. 165-172. 



146 



Chamaeleo Jacksonll 

Lin, J.Y. and Nelson, C.E. (1981). Comparative reproductive biology of two 

sympatric tropical lizards Chamaeleo jacksonli Boulenger and Chamaeleo 

hoehnelll Steindachner (Sauria: Chamaeleonidae) . Ampblbla-Reptllla 

1(3/4): 287-311. 
Loveridge, A. (1957). Checklist of the reptiles and amphibians of East Africa 

(Uganda, Kenya, Tanganika, Zanzibar). Bulletin of the Museum of 

Comparative Zoology 117: 153-362. 
Mertens, R. (1966). Liste der rezenten Amphibien und Reptilen. Chamaeleonidae. 

Das Tlerrelch 88: 1-37. 
Rand, A.S. (1958). A new subspecies of Chamaeleo jacksonl Boulenger and a 

key to the species of three horned chameleons. Brevlora 99: 1-8. 
Riva, D. (1979a). Present CRC Breeding Projects. Journal of the Chameleon 

Research Center 2: 4. 
Riva, D. (1979b). The chameleon's dismal future and the need for conservation. 

Journal of the Chameleon Research Center 2: 3. 
Slavens, F.L. (1985). Inventory of live reptiles and amphibians In captivity 

current January 1, 198S. F.L. Slavens, Seattle, Washington, 341 pp. 
de Vosjoli, P. (1979a). Preliminary observations on intraspecies communication 

in the Jackson's chameleon. Journal of the Chameleon Research Center 

2: 70-87. 
de Vosjoli, P. (1979b). The care, maintenance and breeding of the African 

Chamaeleo. Journal of the Chameleon Research Center 2: 7-38. 
Welch, K.R.G. (1982). Herpetology of Africa. R.E. Krieger Publishing 

Company, Malabar, 293 pp. 



1A7 



GREEN IGUANA 

Iguana Iguana (Linnaeus, 1758) 

Order SAURIA 



Recomniended list: 2* 
[Possible problem] 



Family IGUANIDAE 



* The category has been changed from 3 to 2 since approval by the CITES TEC 
Committee meeting in 1986 owing to the increasing levels of trade in 1985. 



SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS Extremely widespread in Latin America, I. Iguana 
is adaptable and found in a great variety of habitats from Mexico and the West 
Indies to Paraguay. It is large, up to 45 cm snout-vent length, almost 
exclusively herbivorous and principally arboreal, being found particularly 
along the margins of rivers. Sexual maturity is reached at an age of 2-3 
years, and broods, averaging 35-40 eggs, hatch at the beginning of the wet 
season. Most population data are available for Central American and Caribbean 
countries, where the species is said to be depleted in many areas, chiefly by 
intense hunting for meat and eggs, and also habitat destruction. In mainland 
South America hunting pressure seems to be less severe, except in Colombia, 
and populations may be less affected. 

Although formerly traded in small quantities for skins, the main international 
trade is now primarily for live animals as pets, 109 000 being reported in 
1985. The main source countries were El Salvador and Guatemala. There Is 
substantial cross-border trading in Central America of iguanas for human 
consumption, but this is mostly illegal, and is unlikely to be affected by 
CITES. There is a low level of international trade in skins. 

The main countries currently recorded as supplying live animals to 
international trade. El Salvador and Guatemala, both have depleted populations 
of Iguanas. Few data are available for South America, but it seems that 
populations are not under threat, except possibly in Colombia. In Central 
America the major threat is from internal trade for food, which is outside the 
control of CITES, but the current level of international trade in live animals 
from this region seems likely to be exacerbating the problem. 



DISTRIBUTION Widespread in the Neotropics from Mexico to Paraguay, 
including many Caribbean Islands. On mainland South America I. Iguana is 
widely distributed in most lowland areas north of the Tropic of Capricorn. The 
highest altitude record is from 1000 m in Colombia (Etheridge, 1982). Lazell 
(1973) has been followed in not recognising any subspecies, although some 
authorities consider that the form on the South American mainland is different 
from that occurring in the Antilles. 

Aruba Recorded from the island (Lazell, 1973). 

Belize Highly localized, as much of the habitat is unsuitable (Fitch et 
al., 1982). 

Bolivia Widespread, including the Amazonian region (Hoogmoed, 1979) 

Brazil Widespread in Amazonia (Hoogmoed, 1979) and the Pantanal, and 
throughout north-east and central Brazil as far as Bahia (Cunha, 1961) 

British Virgin Islands Including Tortola (Etheridge, 1982), although this 
population may now be extinct, Peter Island and Virgin Gorda (UK CITES MA, 
1986). 



148 



Iguana Iguana 

Colombia Widespread on the mainland, including the Amazonian region 
(Hoogmoed, 1979); and including the islands of Gorgona, Providencia, San 
Andres and Santa Catalina (Lazell, 1973; Gallego 1978). 

Costa Rica Found mostly in the lowlands in the dry, north-western part; it 
is limited to gallery forests along streams (Fitch et ai . , 1982). 

Dominica The early record from Dominica (Boulenger, 1885) is probably 
erroneous (Lazell, 1973). 

Ecuador Widespread from the coast (Lazell, 1973) to the Amazonian region 
(Hoogmoed, 1979) 

El Salvador Chiefly in the coastal mangrove forests (Fitch et al . , 1982). 

French Guiana Occurs throughout the country (Hoogmoed and Lescure, 1975). 

French West Indies Including the arid, leeward coast of La Guadeloupe, 
especially abundant on the lies du Pigeon ou Goyave, and the lies des Saintes 
on La Coche, Grande Ilet, central and eastern Terre de Haut and Ilet-a-Cabri t , 
but absent from Marie Galante, La Desirade and surrounding small islands 
(Lazell, 1973). 

Grenada Including the islands of Kick-'em-Jenny , Mabouya Cay, 
Isle-a-Caille, Isle-a-Ronde , Carriacou, but probably extinct on Glover Island 
(Lazell, 1973). 

Guatemala Chiefly in the Caribbean lowlands (Fitch et al . , 1982). 

Guyana Widespread (Hoogmoed, 1979). 

Honduras Occurs on both coasts, but is most abundant in the warm, humid 
Caribbean lowlands (Fitch et al . , 1982); including Las Islas de la Bahia 
(Utila, Roatan and Guanaja) (Etheridge, 1982), Half Moon Cay and the Swan 
Islands (Lazell, 1973). 

Mexico Occurring southwards from about 24° 30' on the Pacific coast and 21' 
30' on the Atlantic coast, in the states of Campeche, Chiapas, Colima, 
Durango, Guerrero, Jalisco, Mexico, Michoacan, Morelos , Nayarit, Oaxaca, 
Puebla, Quintana Roo (including Cozumel Island), Sinaloa, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, 
Veracruz and Yucatan (Smith and Smith, 1976), although it is rare in Yucatan 
(Etheridge, 1982). 

Montserrat Locally abundant in the South (Lazell, 1973). 

Netherlands Antilles Recorded from Bonaire, Klein Bonaire, Cura(;ao and, in 
the Leeward Islands, Saba (Lazell, 1973). 

Nicaragua Widely distributed, but occurs mainly on the Caribbean coast and 
along major rivers (Fitch et al . , 1982); also recorded from the Corn Islands 
(Lazell, 1973). 

Panama Including the Archipelago de Las Perlas (Etheridge, 1982). 

Paraguay Confined to the Chaco (Etheridge, 1982). 

Peru Widespread, including the Amazonian region (Hoogmoed, 1979). Recorded 
from Iquitos, the Rio Napo or upper Maranon (Dixon and Soini, 1986). 



149 



Iguana iguana 

Puerto Rico Mostly in the San Juan area, but there may also be a population 
near Trujillo Alto; also recorded from Isla Magueyes, Cayo Icacos and 
Whistling Cay (Schwartz et al . , 1978). 

St Lucia Found chiefly on the north-eastern coast of the main island; but 
probably extinct on Pigeon Island (Lazell, 1973), and absent from the Maria 
Islands (Corlte, 1987). 

St Vincent Throughout the lowlands and coastal cays, and including the 
islands of Beguia, Quatre, Battowia, Petite Mustique, Mustique, Petit St 
Vincent, Union Island, Frigate Cay, Tobago Cays, Cannouan and Savan (Lazell, 
1973) . 

Surinane Occurs throughout the country in a wide variety of habitats, from 
sea level to at least 500 m (Hoogmoed, 1973). 

Trinidad and Tobago Occurs on both islands (Lazell, 1973). 

US Virgin Islands Including St Croix, but absent from the small cays of the 
St Croix bank (Lazell, 1973), occurring on St Thomas, St John, Water Island, 
Patricia Cay and Hassel Island (Etheridge, 1982). 

Venezuela Found in most mainland regions (Rivero-Blanco and Dixon, 1979); 
and including the islands of Margarita, Los Testigos, Los Frailes, Los 
Hermanos, La Blanquilla, La Tortuga, Orchilla, Los Roques, Isla Aves (Lazell, 
1973). Widespread in lowland habitats, from primary forest to arid areas, and 
up to the splash zone along rocky coasts, even adapting to live in parks and 
gardens (S. Gorzula, In lltt., 11 April 1986). 

POPULATION Most population data are available for Central American and 
Caribbean countries, where numbers are said to be declining in many areas. 
There are few data for mainland South America, but there are no suggestions 
that the populations are declining, except in Colombia. 

Aruba No information. 

Bolivia No information. 

Brazil Said to be extremely common around all major waterways (W.E. 
Magnusson, pers . comm.). 

British Virgin Islands The population on Tortola is said to be greatly 
reduced or extinct; Peter Island has a healthy but small population; and 
Virgin Gorda has a small population in the North Sound area at Bird Creek (UK 
CITES MA, 1986) . 

Colombia Populations of J. iguana are thought to be declining in Colombia 
as a result of over-hunting (Harris, 1982). The populations in the islands of 
San Andres and Providencia are said to "much persecuted" (Gallego, 1978). On 
Isla Gorgona, iguanas are scarce, but can still be seen without much 
difficulty, although they are very abundant on Isla Gorgonilla (Medem, 1979). 

Costa Rica As in Nicaragua, populations are thought to be scarce or 
declining rapidly except in areas too remote from settlements to be hunted 
regularly (Fitch et al . , 1982). 

Ecuador No information. 

El Salvador The populations of I. Iguana which once thrived in the 
coastal mangrove forests are reported to have almost disappeared as the 

150 



Iguana Iguana 

forests have been destroyed. Although iguanas were still relatively common in 
1974, the forests have now been reduced to IX of their original area, and, 
within remaining stands, iguana populations may be as low as 11 of their 
original density. Iguanas are reported to be still surviving in the area 
around Volcan San Miguel, although they are probably mostly Ctenosaura 
slmllis (Fitch et al . , 1982). 

French Guiana No information. 

French West Indies On the lies des Pigeons, Guadeloupe, it was especially 
abundant; on Saba it was everywhere common, and on St Croix it was locally 
abundant in the East End District, while the lies des Saintes were said to be 
infested with iguanas (Lazell, 1973). 

Grenada I. Iguana is said to be rare (Ministry of Agriculture and 
Tourism, in lltt., 15 November 1985). 

Guatemala Both hunting and habitat destruction are reported to have 
contributed to a "drastic reduction" of iguana populations (Fitch et al . , 
1982). Populations in Alta Verapaz are reported to have declined as a result 
of over-hunting (Flores Villela, 1980), but Fitch et al . (1982) assert that 
they have been little affected in Alta Verapaz and Peten, on the Caribbean 
coast. They report that the worst affected areas are on the Pacific coast 
where the coastal mangrove forests have been reduced to 7X of their original 
extent by agricultural development. The increasing use of pesticides has also 
been implicated. 

Guyana No information. 

Honduras Most of the country, particularly the North, is sparsely populated 
and iguana populations are not in danger of extermination or even of drastic 
reduction, however around Choluteca in the Pacific lowlands the population may 
have been reduced by as much as 901 (Fitch et al . , 1982). 

Mexico I. Iguana is reported to have declined in numbers as a result of 
hunting, and is generally considered to be endangered in Mexico (G. Ceballos, 
in Jitt., 2 December 1986). In the coastal mangrove forests of Chiapas, 
most of the animals captured are adolescents and juveniles, and the population 
is estimated to be as low as 5X of its original size (Fitch et ai . , 1982). 
Northwards from Chiapas, up the Pacific coast to Sinaloa, I. Iguana is still 
relatively common and substantial populations have been reported in Jalisco 
and Colima (G. Ceballos, In lltt., 2 December 1986). On the gulf coast and 
in parts of the Yucatan Peninsula there were reported to be substantial 
populations (Fitch et al . , 1982). Huerta and Mondragon (1975) reported that 
iguanas had declined enormously in Tabasco, particularly around Villahermosa 
and Teapa. 

Hontserrat No information. 

Netherlands Antilles I. Iguana is said to have declined in recent years 
on Curacao (Bakhuis, 1983). 

Nicaragua Drastic reductions in numbers were reported in many areas, 
particularly towards the South of the Pacific coastal strip, although there it 
was probably Ctenosaura slmllis which was worst affected. In many of the 
country's sparsely populated areas, iguanas were thought to be somewhere near 
their original abundance (Fitch et al . , 1982). 

Panama Evidence from the volumes of iguanas sold in markets suggests that 
their populations declined markedly between 1950 and 1969 (Fitch et al . , 

151 



Iguana Iguana 

1982). Werner (1986) reported that they had disappeared from several areas 
owing primarily to over-hunting. 

Paraguay No information. 

Peru Said to have become extremely rare around Iquitos, supposedly because 
of over-hunting (Dixon and Soini, 1986). 

Puerto Rico No information. 

St Lucia Said to be "extremely rare in St Lucia" although "little is known 
about their status in the wild" (Corke, 1983). 

St Vincent No information. 

Suriname I. Iguana is reported to common and is not considered to be 
endangered (Kalden, C.J., in lltt., 16 January 1986). 

Trinidad and Tobago At least locally common in 1973 (Lazell, 1973). 

US Virgin Islands No infromation. 

Venezuela Said to be common in spite of the hunting pressure which may be 
severe in the north of the country (S. Gorzula, In lltt., 11 April 1986). 
In April, after the young have hatched, the Llanos are reported to be 
inundated with iguanas, which even spread into areas of human habitation (Ramo 
and Ayarzaguena, 1983). 

HABITAT AND ECOLOGY A large, herbivorous lizard. Iguana Iguana is 
sexually dimorphic, the maximum size in males being about 3.8 kg, 45 cm 
snout-vent length (SVL) and 1.9 kg, 34 cm in females (Dugan, 1982). It occurs 
in a very wide variety of habitats, usually favouring river banks and the 
margins of ponds and lakes, but also found in arid or rocky areas with 
xeromorphic vegetation. Ceballos Un lltt., 2 December 1986) noted that 
sparse populations occurred in sugar cane crops and along water ditches in 
other cultivated areas. It is described as "primarily arboreal and strongly 
heliothermic". Adults spend most of their time perched in trees, but younger 
animals often bask on the ground during the day, returning to the vegetation 
only at night. It is reported to be relatively sedentary, some animals never 
moving far from the site of hatching (Dugan, 1982; Van Devender, 1982). 

Juveniles hatch at a length of 72-79 mm SVL (Harris, 1982). Van Devender's 
(1982) studies of growth rate indicate a linear increase in SVL with age for 
the first two years of life, reaching 180 mm after one year and 290 mm after 
two. Sexual maturity in females is achieved after two or three years when they 
attain a length of over 200 mm (Wiewandt, 1982). Eggs are laid in burrows, 
usually in sandy soil, the clutch size being reported to vary from lA to 76, 
with the mean between 35 and 40. Egg weights vary from 9 g to 14 g (Wiewandt, 
1982). Incubation has been found to last for 74 to 81 days at 31''C (Harris, 
1982). Mating is relatively synchronous throughout the population, and occurs 
in the dry season, hatching taking place at the beginning of the wet season. 
This pattern has been reported to be common to populations throughout most of 
the geographic range, and is thought to ensure not only that a flush of new 
vegetation is available for the hatchlings but also that the soil temperatures 
at the end of the dry season are high enough for incubation (Rand and Greene, 
1982). Some nests are communal, up to eight females sharing the same deep, 
branching burrow. This allows for the deeper burial of the eggs, which are 
often extremely difficult to locate as a result (Rand and Dugan, 1984). 
Repeated nesting at the same site may help to maintain loose soil structure 
and keep the vegetation clear. Females have been reported to guard nests after 

152 



Iguana iguana 

laying has been completed (Wiewandt, 1982). Males defend mating territories 
and females tend to select the larger males (Dugan, 1982). They may copulate 
with more than one male (Dugan and Wiewandt, 1982). After reaching maturity, 
females may breed annually to an age of ten years (Rand and Greene, 1982). The 
oldest recorded Iguana Iguana reached 12 years, 5 months in captivity in 
Florida (Bowler, 1977). 

Survival of hatchlings is very low, 7511 dying in the first three months and 
50X dying in each of the next three 3-month periods, with not less than 2.611 
of the original hatchlings surviving at the end of one year (Harris, 1982). 
Van Devender (1982) provides a similar mortality model. 

Adult I. Iguana are exclusively herbivorous, feeding primarily on leaves of 
trees, but fruits and other vegetation are also taken. It has been reported 
that there is an ontogenetic shift in diet, the juveniles being carnivorous, 
but this is now thought to be incorrect, even the juveniles being herbivorous 
(Hoogmoed, 1973; Van Devender, 1982). Instead, young animals have been shown 
to satisfy their higher requirements for protein and energy compared to adults 
by selecting better quality vegetation (Troyer, 1986a). Lazell (1973) observed 
I. Iguana eating birds eggs. Food undergoes microbial fermentation in the 
specially enlarged hind-gut, 30-401 of the total metabolisable energy being 
obtained from this source (McBee and McBee, 1982). The overall digestive 
efficiency (541 for fibre and StX for protein) is comparable with values found 
in ruminants (Troyer, 1984b). 

The chief predator of I. Iguana is undoubtedly man, but Baslllscus 
baslllscus is also locally important. Other predators include the reptiles 
Boa constrictor , Crocodylus acutus , Ctenosaura slmllls and Trlmorphodon 
blscutatus , the birds Sarcorhamphus papa, Elanoldes forflcatus , Qulscalus 
spp., and Philander opossum. Fells pardalls and other large cats and 
domestic dogs amongst the mammals (Hoogmoed, 1973; Van Devender, 1982; Dugan 
et aJ . , 1981; G. Ceballos, In lltt., 2 December 1986). When disturbed, 
iguanas may dive from overhanging branches into the water, where they may swim 
submerged for considerable distances. They can defend themselves with biting 
and lashing of the tail when cornered (Hoogmoed, 1973). 



THREATS TO SURVIVAL The main use of I. Iguana since prehistoric times has 
been for food, both its flesh and its eggs being widely esteemed. Iguanas are 
also reputed to have medicinal values. In Mexico they are thought to be 
effective against renal disorders (Flores Villela, 1980), and aphrodisiac 
properties have been attributed to the eggs (Jacobs, 1984) and flesh (Fitch 
et al . , 1982). The eggs are usually preferred to the flesh, and indeed in 
some areas, such as northern Colombia, the flesh is not consumed at all. Where 
they occur sympatrically , the flesh of Ctenosaura slmllls (Fitch et aJ . , 
1982) or Iguana dellcatlsslma (Lazell, 1973) is usually preferred to that of 
I. Iguema. In Mexico, I. Iguana is usually preferred to Ctenosaura spp. 
(G. Ceballos, in iitt., 2 December 1986). As well as subsistence hunting, 
iguanas are often available in markets and restaurants throughout Central and 
South America. They are usually sold live, the legs being tied across the top 
of the back.; the mouth may also be sewn shut, in which condition they can be 
kept alive for many days (Fitch et al . , 1982). In recent years a lucrative 
pet trade in live animals has grown up, and they may also be dried or stuffed 
and sold as curios. The skins are tanned for the speciality leather trade, and 
there is a small demand for iguanas as laboratory animals, for both anatomical 
and physiological studies (Lazell, 1973, Flores Villela, 1980). 

The usual methods of hunting are by shooting with a small-calibre rifle or a 
sling-shot. Snaring is also used, and occasionally hunters have a noose on the 
end of a long pole to capture iguanas in trees. Dogs are often used to run 

153 



Iguana Iguana 

down iguanas flushed in the open, to locate iguanas in burrows or to retrieve 
wounded animals (Fitch et al . , 1982; Flores Villela, 1980). Eggs are 
sometimes dug from the nests but, in a common and misguided attempt at 
sustainable utilization, the eggs are often excised from living females which 
are later stuffed with ash or dead leaves, sewn up and released, in the belief 
that they will survive to breed again. In other cases the cosmetic surgery may 
be dispensed with (Harris, 1982; Flores Villela, 1980). 

Belize Trade in I. Iguana appears to have declined in Belize. In four 
weeks in 1971, 300 were sold in the market in Belize City; none were sold 
during a week of observation in 1976; and only about 24 were sold over a 
3-week period in 1977. Only gravid females were observed on the last occasion, 
the eggs being more highly esteemed than the flesh. The majority of the 
I. Iguana sold in Belize City in 1971 had been obtained in the Cayo 
District, near the Guatemalan Border, and further animals were noted in 
markets in Cayo and Stan Creek (Fitch et al . , 1982). 

Brazil I. Iguana is one of the species hunted frequently by the Coboclos 
living along the banks of the Amazon and its tributaries. It is much prized 
for its flesh and also hunted for its skin (Cunha, 1961). Several tribes of 
Indians, including the Caraja and the Waiwai, are known to have hunted iguanas 
regularly (Fitch et al . , 1982). 

British Virgin Islands As far as is known, deliberate killing of iguanas is 
insignificant, the main threats coming from human disturbance of the habitat 
and exotic predators, including cats, dogs and mongooses (Budd, S.D., Jn 
lltt. , 7 January 1986) . 

Colombia Over-exploitation of I. Iguana in Colombia is giving concern. 
Eggs are the main product, and are usually sold boiled, when they fetch double 
the price of hens eggs. The meat is considered a low class food but Indians 
and other poor Colombians may depend heavily on it for protein (Harris, 1982). 
In the islands of Providencia and San Andr6s the species is much persecuted 
for its meat and eggs. Live animals, captured in Providencia, are sold in the 
market in San Andres (Gallego, 1978). 

Costa Rica There is thought to be no commercial hunting in Costa Rica, but 
local hunting is heavy in some areas. In 1963, AO gravid females were konwn to 
have been caught by locals along four miles of beach at Tortugero, on the 
north-east coast, and several nests were known to have been destroyed by dogs 
(Fitch et aJ . , 1982) . 

El Salvador Iguanas are absent from most of their former range in El 
Salvador but are still hunted in appreciable numbers in the area around San 
Miguel, although there they are thought to be mostly Ctenosaura slmllls 
rather than I. Iguana. Even where they are scarce and commercial hunting is 
unprofitable, subsistence hunting-pressure is still intense owing to the 
scarcity of protein. Retail prices of I. Iguana in markets in Santa Ana, San 
Miguel and Le Union in 1979 ranged from US$1. 40 for animals without eggs to 
US$2. 40 for females bearing eggs. Prices in the markets in San Salvador were 
up to US$5.20 each, representing a 3- to 8-fold increase since 1976. El 
Salvador is a major importer of iguanas, most carried illegally on foot across 
the borders from Honduras and Nicaragua. The small town of Santa Rosa de Lima, 
near the Honduran border is of central importance, hundreds of iguanas passing 
through the market for redistribution to other towns. In 1976, large numbers 
were being imported from Nicaragua by boat across the Gulf of Fonseca, but by 
1979 there were few or none, as numbers had declined and export had been made 
illegal (Fitch et al . , 1982). 



154 



Iguana Iguana 

French West Indies On the lies des Saintes the people are reported to 
slaughter iguanas in large numbers. Some are stuffed and sold as curios 
(Lazell, 1973). 

Grenada Iguanas are considered a delicacy by the Grenadians, but the 
numbers hunted are not known (Ministry of Agriculture and Tourism, Grenada, 
In lltt., 15 November 1985). 

Guatemala Over-hunting of iguanas has been reported in Guatemala (Flores 
Villela, 1980), and the numbers sold are reported to have declined with the 
falling population of wild animals. The reduction in the supply and the rising 
prices have apparently caused some consumers to abandon iguanas as a food 
source. Adult I. iguana were being sold in 1979 in the market at Hazatenango 
at US$3 each, and juveniles at US$1.50. Some are traded across the border to 
El Salvador (Fitch et al . , 1982). 

Honduras Hunting and habitat destruction are thought to be a threat only in 
the Choluteca region where iguana populations may be only 10% of their former 
levels. In other more sparsely populated regions hunting pressure for home 
consumption is slight, and restricted transport prevents the ready export of 
iguanas, although illegal exports undoubtedly occur along the border to El 
Salvador. The price of I. Iguana in the market in Tegucigalpa in 1979 was 
reported to be US$1. 25-3. Unrestricted use of pesticides is suspected to have 
had a part in the reductions in some area:: (Fitch et aj . , 1982). I. iguana 
is considered a game species in Honduras (Fuller and Swift, 1984). 

Mexico I. iguana is very popular as food in Mexico and is much preferred 
to Ctenosaura spp., particularly in Jalisco and Colima (G. Ceballos, in 
lict., 2 December 1986). The main areas where iguanas are hunted are 
Chiapas, Veracruz, Michoacan, Oaxaca, Guerrero, Tehuantepec (Flores Villela, 
1980), the Yucatan Peninsula (Fitch et al . , 1982) and Tabasco (Huerta and 
Mondragon, 1975). They are frequently found in markets in Guerrero (Flores 
Villela, 1980) and Tabasco, and are extensively hunted in Chiapas, where they 
are now much reduced in numbers. In some markets in southern Mexico vendors 
were reported to be selling small helpings of iguana stew at US$0.45 to 
US$1.35, the inflated price reflecting its supposed medicinal properties. 
There is substantial evidence that the aboriginal peoples of Mexico hunted 
iguanas (Fitch et al . , 1982). The main hunting season is in March-April 
when gravid females are selectively caught because their flavour is 
preferred. Occasionally the female is discarded after the eggs have been 
removed. Some iguanas are also killed for their skins; males are selected for 
this purpose because the skin needs to be larger than 30 x 40 cm (Huerta and 
Mondragon, 1975). The skin trade has flourished recently for the manufacture 
of belts and boots, the latter fetching up to US$100 a pair (G. Ceballos, in 
Ji tt., 2 December 1986). 

Netherlands Antilles Iguanas are a popular food item in the Netherlands 
Antilles and a survey conducted on Curacao revealed that 60% of the population 
eat iguanas and 321 of the male population hunt iguanas, mainly for their own 
consumption. This is related to the fact that most people like their iguanas 
either live or recently dead, as the flesh deteriorates fast (Bakhuis, 1983). 
The price of iguanas was approximately AGIO (AGl = US$0.56) in 1983 (Bakhuis, 
pers . comm. ) . 

Nicaragua Large-scale exploitation has been reported to be threatening both 
species of iguana with extinction. In 1968 it was estimated that 150 000 were 
eaten annually within the country and there was reported to be a mass export 
to El Salvador, where they had already been depleted. Hunters in some areas 
were reported to have stopped hunting by 1976 as the animals were so scarce. 
Only in the sparsely populated, inaccessible areas was the hunting pressure 

155 



Iguana Iguana 

low. There was a well organised distribution system in 1976, with a group of 
professional hunters near the Honduran border supplying iguanas to the rest of 
the country. Other sources were in San Francisco de Carniceria, on Lago de 
Managua, and San Carlos, on Lago de Nicaragua. Dealers collect iguanas from 
the hunters in weekly rounds, and talce them to the city markets. Prices were 
highest, and iguanas scarcest, in the South-east (Fitch et aJ . , 1982). 

Panama In 1950 iguanas were reported to have been sold in large numbers in 
the market in Panama City, but very few were available by 1969. Sale of 
iguanas was made illegal in 1967, and the ban was apparently well enforced, 
but it was lifted again in 1979 because of a beef shortage (Fitch et al . , 
1982). 

Peru Over-hunting for skins and the pet trade is thought to have reduced 

iguana populations around Iquitos. A number of skins and a few live animals 

are exported from Iquitos each year. Iguanas are not though to be eaten in 
the region (Dixon and Soini, 1986). 

Suriname I. Iguana is not thought to be hunted in Suriname, but skins 
reported to have originated there have probably been smuggled over the border 
from Brazil (M.S. Hoogmoed, In litt. 26 August 1986). 

Venezuela Hunting of iguanas is now illegal apart for sport hunting 
(Venezuela CITES MA, 1987), although they were formerly much prized by some 
indigenous peoples (Fitch et al . , 1982). Illegal hunting still occurs in 
the north of the country and the lizards are often sold along the road from 
Puerto La Cruz to Caracas and in Estado Sucre. Such sales are illegal and the 
meat is never seen in markets nor served in restaurants. There is less 
hunting in the south of the country, although females are often caught to 
extract their eggs, which are locally popular (S. Gorzula, In lltt., 11 
April 1984). There are plans to develop a commercial management plan for this 
species (Venezuela CITES MA, 1987). 



IHTERWATIONAL TRADE Apart from the illegal trade in iguanas for food in 
Central America, mentioned in the previous section, the only other data on 
international trade are those contained in the Annual Reports of Parties to 
CITES. Virtually all the transactions recorded were in skins or live animals, 
and only these have been included in the following analysis. The CITES reports 
are summarised in Tables 1 and 2. 

The tables show that the majority of the reported trade is in live animals, 
the chief importers being the USA and F.R. Germany (Table 1). This implies 
that they are used primarily as pets rather than food items. The trade 
reached a peak of over 109 000 in 1985. The major suppliers of live animals 
were Colombia, El Salvador, Suriname, Guatemala, Guyana and Mexico. Of these 
Colombia has exported few recently, while El Salvador, Guatemala and Guyana 
have increased their exports (Table 2). A pricelist, published by an animal 
supplier in the USA (South American Unlimited, New York) in 1985, gave the 
price of live Green Iguanas from Suriname as US$12 for 1 ft (30 cm) animals to 
US$35 for 3-A ft ones. 

Significant quantities of skins were traded in 1980 and 1981, but the volume 
has since declined sharply, and none was reported in 198A. The skins 
originated mostly in Colombia, and this may be associated with the fact that 
Colombia implemented a new plan to control the export of wildlife in 1978, 
under which only two companies were allowed to export their remaining stocks 
of hides. The skins appeared to follow a circuitous route, passing first 
through the USA then to the UK, from where they were re-exported mainly to 
F.R. Germany, Canada, Spain, Egypt and even back to the USA. The 16 633 skins 

156 



Iguana iguana 

reported from unlcnown countries of origin in 1980 in Table 2 were mostly 
re-exported by the UK, and it is reasonable to assume that the bulk of these 
were skins from Colombia, of which the UK imported 20 000 in 1980. This 
suggests that the international trade routes are not well established and that 
there may be little regular trade in iguana skins. The only other major source 
of skins was Paraguay, which produced 5000 in 1982. 

Of the countries with no wild populations of I. iguana from which exports 
were reported (Table 2), it seems likely that the majority of the exports were 
in reality re-exports, the country of origin not having been specified. 
Exceptions are probably Indonesia and Singapore, from which significant 
exports of skins were reported in 1980 and 1981; it is possible that the skins 
were wrongly identified, and that they may have been Varanus spp. Similarly 
the skins exported from Argentina may have been of Tuplnambls spp. The 
export from Ghana may result from a confusion with Guyana, or refer to 
Varanus sp. 



Table 1. Minimum net commercial imports of live J. 
skins (S) reported to CITES. 



iguana (L) and their 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Argentina 


6 


L 


10 


L 














228 L 


Austria 


- 




114 


L 


80 


L 


16 


L 


122 


L 


40 S 


Belgium 


- 




- 




- 




_ 




- 




101 L 


Canada 


4955 


S 


7185 


S 


- 




1125 


S 


_ 




1 S 




404 


L 


442 


L 


113 


L 


929 


L 


1639 


L 


2624 L 


China 


4 


L 


_ 




_ 




_ 




_ 




_ 


Costa Rica 


- 




- 




5 


kg s 


_ 




_ 




_ 


Denmark 


24 


L 


16 


L 


15 


L 


86 


L 


527 


L 


292 L 


Dominica 


- 




- 




- 




_ 




_ 




40 L 


Egypt 


3105 


S 


- 




_ 




- 




_ 




— 


Finland 


- 




- 




3 


L 


_ 




_ 




_ 


France 


4 


L 


316 


S 


13 


S 


2 


L 


2 


L 


2 L 


German D.R. 


180 


L 


_ 




_ 




_ 




4 


L 


_ 


Germany, F.R. 


9896 


L 


2489 


L 


1792 


L 


1552 


L 


6403 


L 


10900 L 


Guyana 


- 




- 




- 




50 


L 


_ 




_ 


Israel 


60 


S 


10 


L 


3 


L 


_ 




55 


L 


1 L 


Italy 


19 


L 


- 




- 




166 


L 


- 




620 L 


Japan 


108 


L 


42 


L 


75 


L 


496 


L 


736 


L 


1022 L 


Malaysia 


2 


L 


_ 




_ 




_ 




_ 




_ 


Netherlands 


2 


L 


102 


L 


589 


L 


362 


L 


481 


L 


559 L 


New Zealand 


- 




- 




- 




_ 




- 




6 L 


Singapore 


- 




- 




10 


L 


- 




_ 




10 L 


S. Africa 


- 




6 


S 


- 




_ 




_ 




6 L 


S. Korea 


- 




- 




_ 




._ 




5 


L 


_ 


Spain 


- 




599 


S 


2 


L 


27 


L 


10 


L 


20 L 


Sweden 


_ 




- 




_ 




_ 




6 


L 


4 L 


Switzerland 


- 




23 


s 


_ 




_ 




_ 




750 S 




180 


L 


304 


L 


210 


L 


288 


L 


326 


L 


_ 


UK 


3367 


S 


_ 




- 




_ 




_ 




_ 




498 


L 


922 


L 


337 


L 


988 


L 


1104 


L 


733 L 


USA 


10016 


S 


26485 


S 


5243 


S 


_ 




_ 




_ 




51387 


L 


51562 


L 


37120 


L 


37750 


L 


34303 


L 


92450 L 


TOTAL 


21503 


S 


34614 


S 


5256 


S + 


1125 


S 


_ 




791 S 




62714 


L 


56013 


L 


40349 


L 


42712 


L 


45723 


L 


109786 L 



157 



Iguana iguana 

Table 2 Reported countries of origin or export for commercial exports of live 
I. Iguana (L) and their skins (S) reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Countries with wild populations of I. Iguana 



Colombia 


20500 


S 


8978 


S 


2 


S 


1125 


S 


- 




750 


S 




3301 


L 


34108 


L 


320 


L 


- 




- 




- 




Costa Rica 


_ 




- 




121 


S 


- 




- 




- 




Ecuador 


- 




- 




- 




- 




- 




222 


L 


El Salvador 


5A 


L 


8140 


L 


31146 


L 


23668 


L 


13737 


L 


24152 


L 


Fr. Guiana 


_ 




6 


L 


630 


L 


50 


L 


- 




- 




Guatemala 


61584 


L 


3781 


L 


25 


L 


4400 


L 


19850 


L 


72181 


L 


Guyana 


56 


L 


41 


L 


839 


L 


3952 


L 


7591 


L 


7180 


L 


Honduras 


75 


L 


85 


L 


120 


S 


- 




- 




222 


L 


Mexico 


3 


S 


- 




- 




- 




- 




- 






76 


L 


10 


L 


3487 


L 


891 


L 


225 


L 


- 




Neth. Antilles 


- 




- 




- 




43 


L 


- 




- 




Nicaragua 


- 




- 




5 


leg S 




- 




- 




Panama 


152 


L 


- 




- 




150 


L 


50 


L 


2 


L 


Paraguay 


- 




- 




5000 


S 


- 




- 




- 




Peru 


- 




20 


L 


100 


L 


330 


L 


285 


L 


820 


L 


Suriname 


300 


L 


10212 


L 


5847 


L 


904 7 


L 


3960 


L 


4605 


L 


Venezuela 


- 




- 




- 




- 




10 


L 


- 





Countries without wild populations of I. Iguana 



Argentina 


1000 


S 


5294 


S 




- 




14838 


L 


Australia 


- 




- 




Chile 


- 




_ 




Germany, F.R. 


- 




- 




Ghana 


14 


L 


- 




Guinea 


- 




- 




Haiti 


- 




23 


L 


Indonesia 


1959 


S 


1000 


S 


Netherlands 


10 


L 


- 




Singapore 


1950 


S 


1875 


S 


Tanzania 


- 




- 




USA * 


1 


L 


1 


L 


Uruguay 


- 




- 




Unknown 


16633 


S 


9056 


S 




38 


L 


6988 


L 



11 L 



12 L 

13 S 
45 L 



283 L 

15 L 

31 L 



80 L 



20 L 



74 L 



70 L 



52 L 



350 L 
274 L 

41 S 
2 L 



* It is not clear whether the US report includes Puerto Rico or the US Virgin 
Islands, in which I. Iguana does occur. 



CONSERVATION MEASURES The legislation controlling the hunting, trade and 
export of I. Iguana is summarised in Table 3. Owing to the wide distribution 
of this species it can be found in the majority of National Parks within its 
range. In these it will generally receive greater protection than in the rest 
of the country. 

There has been one attempt at the re-introduction of I. Iguana to a National 
Park in Panama (see Captive Breeding Section). 



158 



Iguana iguana 

Table 3. Legal prohibition on the hunting, internal trade and commercial 
export of I. iguana. Dates are those on which the legislation came into 
force. A - All live animals & parts; L - Live animals only; S - Slcins; 
P - Allowed under permit; C - Closed seasons may be imposed; * - these 
territories are Overseas Departements of France with which the EEC may trade 
without the imposition of CITES controls; ? - no information (mostly from 
Fuller et al . , 1987) . 





CITES 


Hunting 


Trade 


Export 


Aruba 








■> 




? 




Belize 


1981 


- 




A 


1981 


A 


1981 


Bolivia 


1979 


- 




S 


1979 


A 


1985 


Brazil 


1975 


- 




A 


1967 


A 


1967 


Br. Virgin Is 


1976 


7 




? 




P 




Colombia 


1981 


P 




- 




L 


1978 


Costa Rica 


1975 


A 


1985 


A 


1970 


A 


1970 


Dominica 


- 


? 




? 




? 




Ecuador 


1975 


- 




- 




A 


1983 


El Salvador 


1987 


- 




- 




- 




Fr. Guiana 


1978 « 


- 




- 




P 




Fr. W. Indies 


1978 « 


- 




- 




P 




Grenada 


- 


- 




- 




- 




Guatemala 


1980 


- 




- 




P 




Guyana 


1977 


- 




- 




A 


1986 + 


Honduras 


1985 


C 




P 




P 




Mexico 


- 


C 




- 




A 


1982 


Neth. Antilles 


- 


- 




? 




? 




Nicaragua 


1977 


c 




P 




P 




Panama 


1978 


A 


1980 


A 


1980 


A 


1980 


Paraguay 


1977 


A 


1975 


A 


1975 


A 


1975 


Peru 


1975 


c 




A 


1973 


A 


1973 


St Lucia 


1983 


A 


1980 


A 


1980 


A 


1980 


St Vincent 


- 


? 




? 




? 




Suriname 


1981 


c 




- 




P 




Trinidad & Tobago 


1984 


? 




? 




P 




US Virgin Is 


1975 


? 




? 




P 




Venezuela 


1978 


c 




A 


1970 


A 


1970 



Export quotas of 8400 live I. Iguana were suggested for 1987 and 1988. 



CAPTIVE BREKDIWG Because of their widespread use as a food item, their 
relatively high fecundity and their herbivorous habit, I. Iguana has been 
suggested as a suitable candidate for commercial captive breeding. 
Experimental projects have been initiated in at least two countries. 

In Curacao at the Government research institute of Carmabi, Pescadera Bay, 
iguanas were initially kept in small cages measuring 2 x 3 x 5 m. Later an 
open enclosure of 10 x 10 m was constructed into which over 50 iguanas were 
introduced. Shelters comprising tiers of wooden drawers, each having an 
entrance hole small enough to exclude cats, were used by the animals at night. 
They were fed on leaves and fruits and a breeding success of 100% was 
reported. Further trials were under way to see whether they could be reared 
economically (Balchuis, 1983). 



159 



Iguana Iguana 

The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in the Republic of Panama started 
an Iguana Management Project in 1983 under Dr Dagmar Werner, in collaboration 
with the Directorate of Renewable Natural Resources, the Institute for 
Agricultural Research and the University of Panama. The project aims to 
repopulate areas which have been depleted of iguanas, using captive-raised 
stock. Artificial incubation is claimed to raise survival to one year from 5% 
to 95X (Werner, 1986). Initially 400 wild-caught hatchlings were divided into 
groups of 10 to 20 and introduced into small, fenced enclosures, measuring 
about 12 square yards (10 m^) containing bamboo shelters, and were fed on 
fruit and natural vegetation. Later it was found that up to 60 iguanas could 
be kept in each enclosure. In breeding trials adult females were captured from 
the wild and induced to lay eggs in containers buried in artificial clearings 
(Werner and Miller, 1984). Eggs were collected and incubated artificially to 
produce over 700 hatchlings. Some of the hatchlings were used to carry out a 
small repopulation experiment in central Panama in 1984 (Jacobs, 1984). A 
further 1200 were released in December 1985 around farms, and the initial 
survival appeared to be high. The possibility of reforesting areas with 
fodder trees in an attempt to regenerate natural habitat has been suggested 
(Werner, 1986). 

Iguanas are regularly kept as pets in several countries, and may breed In 
captivity. CITES Annual Reports contain records of 6 captive-bred specimens in 
1982 and 2 in 1983. It is apparent that the pet trade in I. Iguana depends 
almost entirely on wild-caught animals. 



RKPERKKCKS 

Bakhuis, W.L. (1983). Exploitation of the Green Iguana in the Netherlands 

Antilles. Trade Wind 5(5): 66-68. 
Boulenger, G.A. (1885). Catalogue of the lizards in the British Museum. Vol. 

2, ed. 2, 492 pp. 
Bowler, J. A. (1977). Longevity of reptiles and amphibians in North American 

collections. SSAR and Phil. Herp. Soc . Misc. Pub. Herp. Cir. (6): 1-32. 
Corke, D. (1983). The reptiles of the Maria Islands, St Lucia. Unpublished 

report to the Eastern Caribbean Natural Area Management Programme. 
Corke, D. (1987). Reptile conservation on the Maria Islands (St Lucia, West 

Indies). Biological Conservation 40: 263-279. 
Cunha, O.R. da (1961). II Lacertilios da Amazonia. Os Lagartos da Amazonia 

Brasiliera com especial referencia aos representados na cole^ao do Museu 

Goeldi. Boletlm do Museu Paraense Emlllo Goeldl , Nova Serle, Zoologla 

(39): 1-189. 
Dixon, J.R. and Soini , P. (1986). The reptiles of the Upper Amazon Basin, 

Iqultos Region, Peru. Part 1 Lizards and Amphlsbaenlans . Part 2 

Crocodlllans , Turtles and Snakes. Milwaukee Public Museum, 154 pp. 
Dugan, B. (1982). The mating behaviour of the Green Iguana Iguana Iguana. 

In: Burghardt, G.M. and Rand, A.S. (eds) Iguanas of the world, their 

behaviour, ecology and conservation. Noyes Publications, New Jersey, pp. 

320-341. 
Dugan, B.A., Rand, A.S., Burghardt, G.M. and Hock, B.C. (1981). Interactions 

between nesting crocodiles and iguanas. Journal of Herpetology 15: 

409-415. 
Dugan, B. and Wiewandt, T.A. (1982). Socio-ecological determinants of mating 

strategies in iguanine lizards. In: Burghardt, G.M. and Rand, A.S. (eds) 

Iguanas of the world, their behaviour, ecology and conservation. Noyes 

Publications, New Jersey, pp. 303-319. 
Etheridge, R.E. (1982). Checklist of iguanine and malagasy lizards. In: 

Burghardt, G.M. and Rand, A.S. (eds) Iguanas of the world, their 

behaviour, ecology and conservation. Noyes Publications, New Jersey, pp. 

7-37. 



160 



Iguana Iguana 

Fitch, H.S., Henderson, R.W. and Hillis, D.M. (1982). Exploitation of iguanas 

in Central America. In: Burghardt, G.M. and Rand, A.S. (eds) Iguanas of 

the world, their behaviour, ecology and conservation. Noyes Publications, 

New Jersey, pp. 397-417. 
Flores Villela, O.A. (1980). Reptiles de importancia economica en Mexico. 

Thesis, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, 278 pp. 
Fuller, K.S., Swift, B., Jorgenson, A. and Brautigam, A. (1987). Latin 

American wildlife trade laws. Second Edition (Revised) . World Wildlife 

Fund-US, 618 pp. 
Gallego, H.C. (1978). Informe de la Comision Efectuada a San Andres y 

Providencia: fauna silvestre. Unpublished report, 25 pp. 
Harris, D.M. (1982). The phenology, growth and survival of the Green Iguana 

Iguana Iguana in northern Colombia. In: Burghardt, G.M. and Rand, A.S. 

(eds) Iguanas of the world, their behaviour, ecology and conservation. 

Noyes Publications, New Jersey, pp. 150-161. 
Hoogmoed, M.S. (1973). Notes on the herpetofauna of Surinam IV. The lizards 

and amphisbaenians of Surinam. Biogeographica *: 1-A19. 
Hoogmoed, M.S. (1979). The herpetofauna of the Guianan region. In: Duellman, 

W.E. (ed.) The South American herpetofauna: its origin, evolution, and 

dispersal. Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas, Monograph 

(7): 241-280. 
Hoogmoed, M.S. and Lescure, J. (1975). An annotated checklist of the lizards 

of French Guiana, mainly based on two recent collections. Zoologlsche 

Mededelingen 49: 141-172. 
Huerta Mercado, P. and Mondragon, J. (1975). Generalidades sobre la Iguana en 

el Estado de Tabasco. Bosgues y Fauna 12(3): 16-21. 
Jacobs, M. (1984). Scientists make breakthrough in effort to cultivate iguanas 

as food source. Smithsonian Institution Research reports (43): 1-8. 
Lazell, J.D. (1973). The lizard genus Iguana in the Lesser Antilles. 

Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 145(1): 1-28. 
McBee, R.H. and McBee, V.H. (1982). The hindgut fermentation in the Green 

Iguana Iguana iguana. In: Burghardt, G.M. and Rand, A.S. (eds) Iguanas 

of the world, their behaviour , ecology and conservation. Noyes 

Publications, New Jersey, pp. 77-83. 
Hedem, F. (1979). Los anfibios y reptiles de las Islas Gorgona y Gorgonilla. 

In: Prahl, H. von, Guhl , F. and Grbgl, M. (eds). Gorgona. Universidad de 

Ids Andes, Colombia, pp. 189-217. 
Ramo, C. and Ayarzaguena, J. (1983). Fauna llanera, apuntes sobre su 

morfologla y ecologla. Cuadernos Lagoven, Venezuela, 84 pp. 
Rand, A.S. and Dugan, B. (1983). Structure of complex iguana [Iguana Iguana] 

nests. Copela 1983(3): 705-711. 
Rand, A.S. and Greene, H.W. (1982). Latitude and climate in the phenology of 

reproduction in the Green Iguana Iguana Iguana. In: Burghardt, G.M. and 

Rand, A.S. (eds) Iguanas of the world, their behaviour, ecology and 

conservation. Noyes Publications, New Jersey, pp. 142-149. 
Rivero-Blanco, C. and Dixon, J.R. (1979). Origin and distribution of the 

herpetofauna of the dry lowland regions of northern South America. In: 

Duellman, W.E. (ed.) The South American herpetofauna: its origin, 

evolution, and dispersal. Museum of Natural History. University of 

Kansas, Monograph (7): 281-298. 
Schwartz, A., Thomas, R and Ober, L.D. (1978). First supplement to a 

check-list of West Indian amphibians and reptiles. Carnegie Museum of 

Natural History Special Publication 5: 1-35. 
Smith, H.M. and Smith, R.B. (1976). Synopsis of the herpetofauna of Mexico 

Vol. III. Source analysis and Index for Mexican reptiles. John Johnson, 

Vermont, 23 pp. 
Troyer, K. (1984a). Diet selection and digestion in Iguana Iguana: the 

importance of age and nutritional requirements. Oecologla 61(2): 201-207. 
Troyer, K. (1984b). Structure and function of the digestive tract of 

a herbivorous lizard, Iguana Iguana. Physiological Zoology 57(1): 1-8. 

161 



Iguana Iguana 

Van Devender, R.U. (1982). Growth and ecology of Spiny-tailed and Green 
Iguanas in Costa Rica, with continents on the evolution of herbivory and 
large body size. In: Burghardt, G.M. and Rand, A.S. (eds) Iguanas of the 
world, their behaviour, ecology and conservation. Noyes Publications, New 
Jersey, pp. 162-183. 

Werner, D. (1986). Iguana management: conservation of Green Iguanas through 
rational use? Notes from Noah 14(1): 11-13. 

Werner, D. and Miller, T. (1984). Artificial nests for female Green Iguanas. 
Herpetologlcal Review 15(2): 57-58. 

Wiewandt, T.A. (1982). Evolution of nesting patterns in iguanine lizards. In: 
Burghardt, G.M. and Rand, A.S. (eds) Iguanas of the world, their 
behaviour, ecology and conservation. Noyes Publications, New Jersey, pp. 
119-lAl. 



162 



CAIKAN LIZARD 

Dracaena gulanensls Daudin, 1802 

Order SAURIA 



Recommended list: 2 
[Possible problem] 



Family TEIIDAE 



SUMMARY AKD COKCLUSIONS A large and little-known semi-aquatic lizard, found 
throughout much of the Ajnazon basin. There are conflicting reports of its 
distribution, but the only reliable records are from Brazil, Ecuador and Peru; 
it does not occur in the Guianas. A closely related species, Dracaena 
paraguayensls , occurs in the Matto Grosso of Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia. 
D. gulanensls grows to about 1.2 m, and has large, blunt teeth, adapted to 
crushing snail shells, which form its diet almost exclusively. 

It is hunted chiefly for its skin, up to 90 000 of which appear to be traded 
annually. The main importing countries are the USA and Japan, and the main 
reported countries of origin are Paraguay, and the Guianas. 

Nothing is known about the population size, and so it is impossible to say 
whether this level of exploitation is excessive. However almost all of the 
reported trade in D. gulanensls is from countries which have no wild 
populations of the species, and a large proportion is from Paraguay, which has 
a ban on wildlife exports. The trade should therefore virtually cease were 
CITES controls to be implemented correctly by the importing countries. Many of 
the skins traded may be from the Pantanal and therefore of D. paraguayensls. 
Consideration should therefore be given to listing the two taxa as "Dracaena 
spp." on Appendix II. 



DISTRIBUTION Found chiefly within the Amazonian drainage basin, where it is 
widespread. 

Brazil Occurs throughout the Amazonian region from Belem (Duellman, 1987) 
at least as far as Tefe (W.E. Magnusson, pers. comm. , 1986), but is absent 
from the Atlantic forests (Dixon, 1979). Amaral (1950) indicates that it 
occurs up the Tocatins River to the Sao Francisco Basin, and that it is 
particularly abundant in the tidal, marshy sections of the Amazon. 

French Guiana the type locality of D. gulanensls is Cayenne, French 
Guiana, and most subsequent discussions of the distribution of the species 
have included the country on the basis of this information. However Hoogmoed 
and Lescure (1975) showed that there were no other records from the country, 
and consider that the type locality is erroneous, representing the port of 
export rather than the true origin of the type specimen. They conclude that 
D. gulanensls does not occur in French Guiana. 

Guyana Hoogmoed (1973) indicates that this species is absent from the 
western part of the Guianan region (Suriname and Guyana), although Crawford 
(1931) lists it in his key to the herpetofauna of the country, which Includes 
species for which "there seems to be an authentic record of collection within 
the colony". No record has been located. 

Ecuador Duellman (1987) recorded the species from Santa Cecilia and It was 
included, without comment, in a checklist of the reptiles of Ecuador (Miyata, 
1982). 

Paraguay There are records of three museum specimens of D. gulanensls 
from the Matto Grosso region (Peraccia, 1902; Burt and Burt, 1931), but 
Vanzolini and Valencia (1965) identified these as the subsequently described 



163 



Dracaena gitlanensls 

and closely related species Dracaena paraguayensls Amaral 1950. Therefore 
D. gulanensls has not been recorded from Paraguay, and it is unlikely that 
it occurs there, as it is outside the Amazon drainage basin. 

Peru Recorded from Cashiboya in the Amazonian region (Boulenger, 1885; 

Hoogmoed, 1979) and Cuzco Amazonica Reserve on the Madre de Dios River 

(Duellman, 1987). In the Iquitos Region, Dixon and Soini (1986) obtained 
specimens from Centro Union, Moropon and Iquitos. 

Suriname There have been suggestions that this species may occur in 
Suriname, but Hoogmoed (1973) refutes them, indicating that it is absent from 
the western part of the Guianan region (Suriname and Guyana). 

Groombr idge ■ ( 1983 ) states that the species possibly occurs in other countries 
bordering the Amazon, but Hoogmoed (1979) indicates that there are as yet no 
records from the Amazonian regions of Colombia and Bolivia, nor are there any 
from Venezuela (S. Gorzula, In lltt., 11 April 1986). 



POPULATION There is no information available on the size of the population 
of D. gulanensls . The paucity of Icnowledge of the species may indicate that 
it is scarce, but it could equally reflect its inconspicuous nature and 
tendency to inhabit swamps and the smaller waterways, which are seldom 
visited. Duellman (1987) conducted a study of lizards at Cuzco Amozonico 
Reserve, Peru, and captured only one D. gulanensls, but because of its size 
it accounted for 15.511 of the lizard biomass. Dixon and Soini (1986) reported 
that during the flood season these lizards were occasionally seen swimming in 
the flooded streets of towns and villages in the Iquitos region. 



HABITAT AWD ECOLOC^Y A large, semi-aquatic lizard inhabiting river margins 
and areas of flooded forest, D. gulanensls has seldom been studied in the 
wild, and little is known of its ecology. It is particularly characteristic of 
the tidal, marshy areas around the mouth of the Amazon. Fully grown it reaches 
a length of A feet (1.2 m) and is sometimes mistaken for a caiman, having 
powerful jaws (Breen, 1974), although the teeth are blunt and rounded, adapted 
for crushing snail shells (Darymple, 1979; Preghill, 1984). One of its local 
names is Jacuaruxi, and it is regarded as a species of caiman by the fishermen 
around Tefe (W.E. Magnusson, pers . comm.). The lizard preys almost exclusively 
on snails, which it catches by foraging in the water. Rand (1964) reports that 
it hunts underwater, walking along the bottom, and searching under the leaves, 
while Vanzolini (1961) observed it feeding walking on its hind legs, with its 
head above the water. The snails are usually brought to the surface and 
crushed; the fragments of shell are not found in the faeces and are expelled 
from the mouth before the snail is eaten (Dixon and Soini, 1986; Vanzolini, 
1961). 

When not feeding, it usually lies along the branches of trees and bushes, 
relying on cryptic colouration to avoid detection (Vanzolini, 1961). The back 
is olive brown and the belly is yellowish with black marbling (Cunha, 1961). 
Young animals are reported to have green bodies and reddish brown heads (Dixon 
and Soini, 1986). It swims well, with strong strokes of the flattened tall, 
and may take refuge in holes underwater when disturbed. The habit of resting 
in trees may enable it to avoid aquatic predators, chief amongst which are 
probably caimans (Vanzolini, 1961). 

Very little is known of the breeding biology of this species. There are two 
records of females both having 17 yolked ovarian follicles, and a single 
report of a nest lodged in a termite mound (Best, 1984; Dixon and Soini, 1986). 

164 



Dracaena gulanensls 

THREATS TO SURVIVAL There is very little information regarding exploitation 
of this species, although Cunha (1961) reports that it is much persecuted in 
Amazonia for its flesh and principally its skin. Dixon and Soini (1986) 
reported that a number of slcins and a few live individuals are shipped out of 
Iquitos each year. Hoogmoed (.In litt., 26 August 1986) considered that the 
slcins of this species reportedly originating in Suriname had almost certainly 
been smuggled in from Brazil. In common with other Amazonian species, its 
habitat is threatened by deforestation and the extensive hydro-electric dam 
projects now under consideration. 



IMTERNATIONAL TRADE 



The 



only reports of international trad© 



in 



D. gulanensls are those contained in the Annual Reports of Parties to CITES. 
Since 1980, there have been no reports of trade in live animals, the bulk 
being of trade in slcins; the great majority of these were reported as numbers 
of skins, with insignificant quantities being reported by weight or length. 
These last two categories were therefore excluded from the following 
analysis. The CITES reports are summarised in Tables 1 and 2. 

Table 1 shows that the minimum world trade volume of D. gulanensls skins 
varied from 8925 to 85 335 skins between 1980 and 1985. The chief importers 
were Japan and the USA. In 1981 and 1984 Japan was a net exporter, although 
its gross imports were over 10 000 skins. Most of the skins eventually 
destined for the USA in 1984 went via Japan, suggesting that they were 
probably tanned there. Other major importers are Belgium, Italy and Spain. To 
judge by reported countries of export or origin (Table 2), France must also 
have imported appreciable quantities of skins, although until 1984 it did not 
report imports of Appendix II species. 



Table 1. Minimum net imports of skins of D. gulanensls reported to CITES, 
excluding transactions reported by weight or length. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Argentina 




160 










Belgium 


- 


- 


- 


9117 


- 


- 


Canada 


- 


- 


2 


- 


- 


- 


France 


_ 


_ 


_ 


_ 


4636 


_ 


Italy 


- 


200 


6163 


886 


- 


- 


Hong Kong 


- 


- 


- 


- 


188 


- 


Japan 


5000 


- 


40300 


8655 


- 


1695 


Korea 


- 


- 


- 


120 


116 


- 


Mexico 


- 


1000 


- 


- 


- 


- 


Spain 


- 


- 


- 


2307 


- 


- 


Switzerland 


180 


- 


- 


- 


8 


- 


USA 


3745 


71062 


38870 


16631 


43499 


23506 


Total 


8925 


72422 


85335 


37716 


48447 


25201 



The distribution of D. gulanensls is incompletely known, however Table 2 
shows that the only country known to have a wild population which is reported 
as a country of origin is Brazil. Venezuela may also have some D. gulanensls 
in the extreme south, and it was given as the country of origin of 100 skins 
in 1981. Both Brazil and Venezuela have bans on the hunting of this species 
(see Table 3) . 



165 



Dracaena gulanensls 

Of the source countries not having wild populations of D. gulanensis , the 
exports from France, Japan and Spain probably indicate re-exports where the 
country of origin was not specified. The skins from Indonesia could fall into 
this category or they could represent incorrect identification. But the 
remaining countries, Argentina, Paraguay, French Guiana, Guyana and Suriname, 
all border on Brazil. It is known that large quantities of Caiman skins are 
smuggled into Paraguay out of Brazil, where their hunting is prohibited, and 
are then exported to consumer countries. It appears that the same is also 
happening with D. guianensls , both into Paraguay and also Guyana and 
Suriname. The possibility of confusion of the skins with the similar species 
Dracaena paraguayensis is discussed below. The whole of the world trade in 
this species therefore appears to involve illegally acquired skins, the vast 
majority having been smuggled to Paraguay, French Guiana, Suriname and Guyana. 

Table 2. Reported countries of origin and quantities of transactions in whole 
skins of D. gulanensls reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Countries known to have wild populations of D. gulanensls 
Brazil - 67 - - 

Countries without wild populations of D. gulanensls 



Argentina 


1092 


5000 


3000 


- 


- 


France 


90 


4966 


5000 


- 


_ 


Fr. Guiana 


5180 


8417 


8909 


1104 


- 


Guyana 


- 


10141 


22680 


6715 


786 


Indonesia 


- 


- 


- 


1000 


1520 


Japan 


- 


- 


- 


- 


2000 


Mexico 


- 


- 


- 


- 


2 


Paraguay 


- 


28205 


47096 


34665 


31386 


Spain 


962 


- 


- 


- 


- 


Suriname 


6490 


26339 


6653 


2913 


2538 


Venezuela 


_ 


100 


- 


_ 


_ 


Unknown 


1253 


2893 


3992 


877 


16274 



7935 



18428 



1181 



COWSERVATION MEASURES The protection status of D. gulanensls in the 
countries surrounding its range is given in Table 3. With a few marginal 
exceptions, the great bulk of the population of D. gulanensls lives within 
Brazil, a country in which it is totally protected. In spite of this, 
large-scale poaching is clearly taking place. The Brazilian Government is 
fully aware of this problem and has initiated measures using troops to combat 
the poaching and smuggling in the Pantanal region in the South of the country, 
where many wildlife products are known to be smuggled out to Bolivia and 
Paraguay. The scale of the problem is such that these measures have not yet 
had any detectable effect in significantly curtailing the trade. Table 2 
indicates that the northern border of Brazil is equally permeable to illegal 
wildlife trade, but, so far as is known, no concerted effort has been made to 
prevent this from the Brazilian side. Earlier confusion over the distribution 
of D. gulanensls led to the belief that it occurred in French Guiana, Guyana 
and Suriname. It is possible that this mis-apprehension has been exploited by 
traders, who have discovered that these countries are acceptable countries of 
origin when applying for import permits. This loophole could be closed if the 

166 



Dracaena gulanensls 

distribution of the species were specified unequivocally to the CITES 
Management Authorities. Measures have been initiated by CITES to ensure that 
Suriname is not accepted by importing countries as a possible country of 
origin, after the Secretariat was informed by the Suriname Management 
Authority that the species did not occur in the country. The same procedure 
could be followed with the other two countries. 

D. gulanensls does not occur in Paraguay, and, in any event, all wildlife 
exports from the country are prohibited. Nevertheless all the major importing 
countries, notably the USA and Japan, have accepted imports of Paraguayan 
skins, apparently without question. The closely related species, Dracaena 
paraguayensls , lives in the Pantanal region of Paraguay and southern Brazil, 
and looks very similar to D. gulanensls . Vanzolini and Valencia (1965) 
remark that "while there is no actual evidence indicating that the two forms 
are races of a same species, the possibility cannot at present be ruled out." 
It is thought that a large proportion of the illegal trade in Dracaena may 
originate in the Pantanal, and therefore be in D. paraguayensls . There is no 
information on the status of this species, but it is at least more accessible 
than D. gulanensls (W.E. Magnusson, pers . comm. ) . The scarcity of records 
for D. paraguayensls (Vanzolini and Valencia, 1965) indicates that its 
population density may be similar to that of D. gulemensls . Consideration 
should therefore be given to including the whole genus in CITES Appendix II, a 
step which is, in any event, justified on the grounds that the two species 
look very similar (Amaral, 1950). 



Table 3. Legal prohibition on the hunting, internal trade and commercial 
export of D. gulanensls . Dates are those on which the legislation came into 
force. A - All live animals & parts; L - Live animals only; S - Skins; 
P - Allowed under permit; C - Closed seasons may be imposed; * - these 
territories are Overseas D^partements of France with which the EEC may trade 
without the imposition of CITES controls (Fuller et al . , 1985). 



CITES 



Hunting 



Trade 



Export 



Bolivia 

Brazil 

Colombia 

Ecuador 

Fr. Guiana 

Guyana 

Peru 

Suriname 

Venezuela 



1979 


- 


S 


1979 


A 1985 


1975 


A 1986 


A 


1967 


A 1967 


1981 


P 


- 




L 1978 


1975 


- 


- 




A 1981 


1978 * 


- 


_ 




P 


1977 


- 


- 




A 1986 


1975 


A 1973 


A 


1973 


A 1973 


1981 


_ 


- 




P 


1978 


C 


A 


1970 


A 1970 



CAPTIVE BREEDING No records have been found of D. gulanensls having bred 
in captivity, and only one animal was listed in an international survey of 260 
zoological collections in 1985 (Slavens, 1985). 

REPERKWCES 

Amaral, A. (1950). Two new South American lizards. Copela 1950: 281-28/t. 

Best, R.C. (1984). The aquatic mamamals and reptiles of the Amazon. In: Sioli, 
H. (ed). The Amazon. Limnology and landscape ecology of a mighty tropical 
river and Its basin. Dr W. Junk, Netherlands, pp. 371-412. 

Boulenger, G.A. (1885). Catalogue of the lizards In the British Museum. Vol. 
2, ed. 2, 492 pp. 



167 



Dracaena gulanensls 

Breen, J.F. (1974). Encyclopedia of reptiles and amphibians. T.H.F. 

Publications, Neptune City, New Jersey, 576 pp. 
Burt, C.E. and Burt, M.D. (1931). South American lizards in the collection of 

the American Museum of Natural History. Bulletin of the American Museum 

of Natural History 61: 227-395. 
Crawford, S.C. (1931). Field key to the lizards and amphibians of British 

Guiana. Annals of the Carnegie Museum 21: 11-42. 
Cunha, O.R. da (1961). II Lacertilios da Amazonia. Os Lagartos da Amazonia 

Brasiliera com especial referencia aos representados na colegao do Museu 

Goeldi. Boletlm do Museu Paraense Bmlllo Goeldl , Nova Serle, Zoologla 

(39): 1-189. 
Darymple, G.H. (1979). On the jaw mechanism of the snail-crushing lizards, 

Dracaena gulanensls (Reptilia, Lacertilia, Teiidae). Journal of 

Herpetology 13(3): 302-312. 
Dixon, J.R. (1979). Origin and distribution of reptiles in lowland tropical 

rainforests of South America. In: Duellman, W.E. (ed.) The South American 

herpetof auna: its origin, evolution, and dispersal. Museum of Natural 

History, University of Kansas, Monograph (7): 217-240. 
Dixon, J.R. and Soini, P. (1986). The reptiles of the Upper Amazon Basin, 

Iqultos Region, Peru. Part 1 Lizards and Amphlsbaenlans . Part 2 

Crocodlllans , Turtles and Snakes. Milwaukee Public Museum, 154 pp. 
Duellman, W.E. (1987). Lizards in an Amazonian rain forest community: 

resource utilization and abundance. National Geographic Research 3(4): 

489-500. 
Fuller, K.S., Swift, B., Jorgenson, A. and Brautigam, A. (1987). Latin 

American wildlife trade laws. Second Edition (Revised) . World Wildlife 

Fund-US, 418 pp. 
Groombridge, B. (1982). World checklist of threatened amphibians and 

reptiles. N.C.C., London, 65 pp. 
Hoogmoed, M.S. (1973). Notes on the herpetofauna of Surinam IV. The lizards 

and amphisbaenians of Surinam. Blogeographlca 4: 1-419. 
Hoogmoed, M.S. (1979). The herpetofauna of the Guianan region. In: Duellman, 

W.E. (ed.) The South American herpetofauna: its origin, evolution, and 

dispersal. Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas, Monograph 

(7): 241-280. 
Hoogmoed, M.S. and Lescure, J. (1975). An annotated checklist of the lizards 

of French Guiana, mainly based on two recent collections. Zoologlsche 

rtededeii ngen 49(13) : 141-172. 
Miyata, K. (1982). A check list of the amphibians and reptiles of Ecuador with 

a bibliography of Ecuadorean herpetology. Smithsonian Institution 

Her petolog leal Information Service (54): 1-70. 
Peraccia, M.G. (1904). Viaggio del Dr A. Borelli nel Matto Grosso brasiliano e 

nel Paraguay, 1899. IX Reptili ed Amfibi. Bollettlno del Musel dl 

Zoologla e dl Anatomla Comparata della R. Unlverslta Torino. 
Preghill, G. (1984). Durophagous adaptations in an amphisbaenid . Journal of 

Herpetology 18(2): 186-191. 
Rand, A.S. (1964). An observation on Dracaena gulanensls foraging 

underwater. Herpetologlca 20: 207. 
Slavens, F.L. (1985). Inventory of live reptiles and amphibians in captivity 

current January 1, 1985. F.L. Slavens, Seattle, Washington, 341 pp. 
Vanzolini, P.E. (1961). Notas bionomicas sobre Dracaena gulanensls no Para 

(Sauria, Teiidae). Papels Avulsos do Departamento de Zoologla, Secretaria 

da Agrlcultura, Sao Paulo 14(25): 237-242. 
Vanzolini, P.E. and Valencia, J. (1965). The genus Dracaena, with a brief 

consideration of macroteiid relationships (Sauria, Teiidae). Arqulvos de 

Zoologla 13: 7-35. 



168 



TEGU LIZARDS Recommended list: 1 

[Problem] 
Tuplnambls spp. 

Order SAURIA Family TEIIDAE 

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS A genus of large lizards, growing to about 1.3 m, 
very widely distributed in South America, from Darien to northern Patagonia. 
The taxonomy is confused, but there are probably two or three species, the 
cured skins of which are virtually indistinguishable. They inhabit many 
different habitats, from tropical forests to arid scrub, and are generally 
hardy and opportunistic. They are diurnal, retiring to burrows at night, and 
are omnivorous, eating mainly invertebrates, small vertebrates, fruits and, 
when adult, carrion. In the South of the range, hibernation occurs from about 
March to September in burrows or roclc crevices. Broods of about 20-35 eggs are 
laid in burrows, and usually hatch in late December to January. 

They are very extensively hunted for skins, but also locally for meat. 
Argentina and Paraguay are the main exporters, the former exporting about a 
million skins annually, mostly to the USA and Western Europe. There is an 
insignificant trade in live animals. Argentinian law sets closed seasons and 
quotas for hunting on a provincial basis, but these are not based on a 
knowledge of population size or biology, and the numbers of Tuplnambls are 
slowly declining. 

The genus is described as common or abundant throughout some of its wide 
range, and can undoubtedly withstand a substantial level of trade. There is 
currently a large illegal trade in skins from Paraguay which could be halted 
if CITES controls were implemented by the importing countries. The bulk of the 
skins are legally exported from Argentina under a management scheme, but this 
appears to be inadequate at present. A project currently in progress aims to 
assess the population status and revise hunting quotas and seasons in the 
country. The taxonomy of the genus is in urgent need of revision. 

DISTRIBUTION There is considerable confusion over the taxonomy and 
distribution of the genus Tuplnambls . Peters and Donoso-Barros (1970) 
recognise four species: Tuplnambls dusenl , from a single record in Parana; 
Tuplnambls nlgropunctatus , from the Amazon basin; Tuplnambls rufsscens , 
from western Argentina; and Tuplnambls tegulxln, from northern Argentina, 
Uruguay, Brazil and the Guianas. However the species occurring in the Guianas 
is normally considered to be T. nlgropunctatus by most authors (e.g. 
Hoogmoed and Lescure, 1975). Presch (1973) attempted a review of the genus in 
which he suggested that T. nlgropunctatus was included in T. t&gulxln^ 
T. dusenl in T. rufescens, and that the species distributed throughout the 
arid eastern and south-eastern regions of Brazil and Uruguay, was 
T. rufescens and not T. tegulxln, as had been previously held. Hoogmoed 
and Lescure (1975) questioned his treatment of T. nlgropunctatus, asserting 
that it was distinct, and should at least be considered a subspecies of 
T. tegulxln. Presch' s treatment of the species occurring in southern and 
eastern Brazil and Uruguay has received strong opposition from Vanzolini 
(1976), Gudynas (1981), and Donadio and Gallardo (1984), who concur with 
Achaval and Langguth (1972) in regarding the species as T. tegulxln, though 
there is some suggestion that T. rufescens may also occur in Brazil 
(Vanzolini, 1976). As regards the implementation of CITES controls, there 
seems little point in differentiating beyond the level of the genus, as the 
skins are not readily distinguishable when cured. 

The taxonomic status of T. 'nlgropunctatus' poses few problems, as its 
distribution does not overlap with T. 'tegulxln', and it can either be 



169 



Tuplnanbls spp. 

regarded as a full species (e.g. Hoogmoed, 1973), or as a subspecies of 
T. tegulxln (e.g. Mertens, 1972). In Argentina the status of T. rufescens 
is not in dispute, but in southern Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and perhaps 
Bolivia, more work is needed to resolve the distinction between this species 
and T. teguixln. In the outline of the distribution, the following three 
taxa have been used: 

Tupinambis ' nlgropunctatus' (Spix): Widespread in northern South America, 
north of about 15''S, mainly to the east of the Andes, but reaching the Isthmus 
of Oarien in Colombia. 

Tupinambis 'tegulxln' (sensu Boulenger): Widespread from eastern Argentina 
through Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia to Brazil, south of about IS^S. 

Tupinambis 'rufescens' (Linnaeus): Mainly in the drier areas of western 
Argentina, but possibly extending through Paraguay into Brazil and perhaps 

Bolivia. 

Argentina Two species occur in Argentina. T. 'tegulxln' is found in the 
damper, eastern regions from Missiones, Corrientes, Entre Rios, Formosa, 
Chaco, Santa Fe , Santiago del Estero, Cordoba (especially the east), Buenos 
Aires and the east of La Pampa (Donadio and Gallardo, 1984). T. 'rufescens' 
is widespread in the drier areas in the west of the country, especially 
Sanitago del Estero, south of Jujuy, east of Salta, north-east and south-east 
of Tucuman, La Rioja, San Juan, Mendoza, with unconfirmed reports from the 
north-east of Neuquen, central La Pampa, south of San Luis, and possibly the 
north-west of Chaco (Donadio and Gallardo, 1984) and western Formosa (G. 
Hemley, In lltt., 25 March 1986). The most southerly record of this species 
is from Gran Bajo de Gualicho, south of the Rio Negro (Cei and Scolaro, 1982). 

Bolivia Presch (1973) recorded one species, "T . tegulxln", from the Rio 
Itenez and the Rio Mamore , but Hoogmoed and Lescure (1975) suggested that the 
species occurring in South America, north of 15°S was T. 'nlgropunctatus' . 
This would include the northern part of Bolivia, although in the southern part 
T. 'tegulxln' would certainly occur, and the range of T. 'rufescens' may 
also extend into the country. Clearly, detailed studies are necessary. 

Brazil The genus occurs thoroughout the country, from Amazonia to the arid 
regions in the east. Presch (1973) considered the species in the latter region 
to be "T. rufescens", although its earlier description as "T. tegulxln" Is 
probably correct (Vanzollni, 1976). Within the Amazonian drainage and the 
Pantanal, the species occurring to the north of about IS^S is considered to be 
T. 'nlgropunctatus' , and to the south, T. 'tegulxln' (Hoogmoed and 
Lescure, 1975). Presch (1973) considers both of these to be "T . tegulxln". 
Vanzollni (1976) indicates that two species of Tupinambis , T. 'tegulxln' and 
T. 'rufescens' , occur sympatr ically In the cerrado vegetation region of 
Brazil. This implies that three species occur in the country. The description 
of Tupinambis dusenl Lbnnberg and Anderson, 1910 is not generally accepted. 

Colombia T. 'nlgropunctatus' is widespread, from the Amazonian region 
(Hoogmoed, 1979), through Meta, Magdalena, Bolivar and Antioquia to the 
Isthmus of Darien (Presch, 1973). 

Ecuador Duellman (1987) recorded "T. tegulxln" from Santa Cecilia In the 
Amazonian region of Ecuador, and Mlyata (1982) Included "T . tegulxln" In a 
checklist of the herpetofauna of the country, but it is not clear what 
taxonomy they were following. It Is likely to be T. 'nlgropunctatus' and 
not T. 'tegulxln' that occurs there. 



170 



Tuplnambls spp. 

French Guiana T. 'nlgropunctatus' occurs in French Guiana, and is 
probably present throughout the country (Hoogmoed and Lescure, 1975). 

Guyana Both "T . tegulxln" and "T. nlgropunctatus" are included in 

Crawford's (1931) checklist for British Guiana, although it is likely that 

only one form occurs there, and that this should be T. 'nigropunctatus' 

(Hoogmoed, 1973; Hoogmoed and Lescure, 1975). Presch (1973) lists several 
records from the Demerara district. 



Paraguay Two species of Tuplnambls have been recorded from Paraguay 
(Hellmich, 1960, fide Presch, 1973), probably corresponding to 
T. 'tegulxln' and T. 'rufescens'. The genus is widespread, recorded from 
the Departments of Chaco, Central, Concepcion, Caaguazu and Alto-Parana 
(Presch, 1973). 

Peru Present in the Amazonian region (Hoogmoed, 1979), and recorded from an 
altitude of 550 m at Rio Comberciato, near the great head of Urubamba (Presch, 
1973). Dixon and Soini (1986) reported that T. tegulxln occurred in all 
habitats in the Iquitos Region except in direct contact with human 
habitation. Duellman (1987) recorded T. tegulxln from Cuzco Amazonico 

the Hadre de Dios River. If Hoogmoed and Lescure's 
the species occurring in South America, north of 15''S 
is correct, then this is the only form to occur in 
are said to have been observed at Iquitos, Iparia, 
Rio Pachitea, Pucallpa, Sarayucu, and Satipo, though the claim that both 
T. tegulxln and T. rufescens occur (Anon., 1985) is clearly erroneous. 



Ecological Reserve on 
(1975) suggestion that 
is T. 'nlgropunctatus' 
Peru. Tuplnambls spp. 



Surinaioe T. 'nlgropunctatus' 
In lltt. , 26 August 1987) . 



occurs throught the country (Hoogmoed, 1973; 



Trinidad and Tobago T. 'nlgropunctatus' is present 
(Hardy, 1982). Presch (1973) has records from Milford 
Princetown, Trinidad. 



on both islands 
Bay, Tobago, and 



Uruguay Widespread, from the sandy coastal environments, inland at least to 
Tacuarembo (Achaval and Langguth, 1972; Gudynas , 1981). These authors consider 
the species to be "T . tegulxln", while Presch (1973) refers it to 
"T . rufescens". 

Venezuela T. 'nlgropunctatus' is widespread throughout the country, 
including the llanos region (Rivero-Blanco and Dixon, 1979) and also Amazonia 
(Hoogmoed, 1979). 

POPULATION 

Argentina Said to be common in the east of Buenos Aires (Bella Vista, Campo 
de Mayo, San Miguel, Lujan, Jauregui, Lobos , Loma Verde, Otamendi, Zelaya, 
Rojas, and in the delta of the Parana), frequent in Cordoba (Laguna del Monte, 
Sampacho, Emblase Rio III, Dique la Vina, La Paz and Bialet-Mass4) , San Luis, 
Santa Fe, Entre Rios, Misiones, but not frequent in D'Orbigny (Gallardo, 
1977). The largest populations of Tuplnambls occur in Formosa and the 
western "impenetrable" zone of the Chaco province. Populations are slowly 
declining in Salta and Santiago del Estero. Local extinctions near towns have 
been noted in these two provinces as well as Formosa and Chaco (Hemley, G. in 
lltt. , 7 March 1986). 

Bolivia No information. 



Brazil Said to be very common in Amazonia (Cunha, 1961), and one of the 
most abundant lizards in southern Brazil (Milstead, 1961). T. tegulxln was 

171 



Tuplnambls spp. 

reported to be seen frequently in the Parque Nacional da Tijuca, Rio de 
Janeiro (Anon., 1981a). 

Colombia No information. 

Ecuador No information. 

French Guiana No information. 

Guyana No information. 

Paraguay Populations of Tuplnambls were said to have declined in most 
inhabited areas. Hunters reported having to wallc further to find lizards and 
the scarcity can be attributed to overhunting. In some regions, where forests 
have recently been cleared, tegu populations are reported to have increased, 
but this may be due to the increased ease of observation (Norman, 1987).. 
T. rufescens was abundant in the Parque Nacional Defensores del Chaco 
(Torres Santibanez, 1978). T. tegulxln is "seen frequently" in Parque 
Nacional Ybycui (Anon., 1982). 

Peru Dixon and Soini (1986) reported that T. tegulxln was observed on 
numerous occasions in the Iquitos Region and was more numerous than their 
small sample (5 animals) indicated. Duellman (1987) captured two 
T. tegulxln in a survey of Cuzco Amazonico Ecological Reserve on the Madre 
de Dios River and concluded that it accounted for 22% of the lizard biomass. 

Suriname Said to be common throughout but nowhere abundant (M.S. Hoogmoed, 
In lltt. , 26 August 1987) . 

Trinidad and Tobago No information. 

Uruguay Although still locally abundant, populations are said to have 
decreased as a result of human exploitation (Gudynas, 1981). 

Venezuela No information. 

HABITAT AND ECOLOGY The large teiid lizards of the genus Tuplnambls are 
found in a wide variety of habitat types from dense tropical forest and 
marshes to arid scrubland. They are very opportunistic and hardy, and may do 
well in cattle farming areas. T. rufescens is particularly associated with 
arid areas, but even this species preferentially selects the margins of rivers 
and ponds (Donadio and Gallardo, 1984). 

In the south of the range, at least, Tuplnambls hibernates in burrows over 
the winter. In Argentina, the hibernation period is usually from March to May 
until August to October, but this varies depending on climatic conditions. 
Further North the hibernation period shortens, as temperatures increase; and 
T. nlgiopunctatus is active all year round in Venezuela. Burrows may be 
excavated to a depth of 0.5-1.5 m, or old vizcacha burrows may be taken over. 
Other favoured sites are crevices in rocky areas, hollow tree trunks and gaps 
under roots. During the summer they are diurnal, returning to burrows at night 
an emerging in the morning and basking before starting foraging (Millstead, 
1961; Gudynas, 1981; Donadio and Gallardo, 1984). 

Tuplnambls is omnivorous, eating a variety of snails, slugs, myriapods, 
insects, and occasionally small reptiles, mammals and birds. Fruits and honey 
are also consumed, the lizards climbing trees to raid wasp and bee nests. 
Predation on the eggs of caimans, turtles, wild and domestic fowl is also 
reported (Palermo, 1983). Juveniles eat mostly insects, and as adulthood 
approaches there is an increasing trend towards carrion eating (Gudynas, 1981; 

172 



Tuplnaittbls spp. 

Donadio and Gallardo, 1984). This ontogenetic shift in diet is reflected in a 
corresponding change in the dentition (Presch, 1974). Juvenile Tuplnambls 
are preyed upon by snakes and birds of prey. The adults have few natural 
predators except man and some larger cats. When cornered they may become 
aggressive, with displays of mouth-opening, hissing and tail-lashing. A more 
usual response to disturbance is to flee down the burrow (Donadio and 
Gallardo, 1984). 

Courtship occurs in Argentina in October and November. The males emerge from 
their hibernation burrows first, and pursue the females when they appear. 
Mating usually takes place in mid-November, after which the female retires to 
a breeding burrow. This is usually 0.5 m deep and 1.5 m long, and the nest 
chamber is furnished with a layer of dry vegetation into which the eggs are 
laid. Some reports suggest that the female stays with the eggs until they 
hatch, usually from late December to early January. The clutch size varies 
from 20 to 54. In Pernambuco smaller clutch sizes of around 13-29 are 
reported. Egg dimensions are about 41-48 mm by 30-34 mm. Nests of 
T. nlgropunctatus are reported to be often associated with arboreal termite 
nests (Donadio and Gallardo, 1984). There is some evidence that a second brood 
may be laid towards they end of the summer (Gallardo, 1977). The lizards in 
Argentina hatch at a length of 19-20 cm and grow to about 35 cm in their first 
five months. Adult T. tegulxln are normally 1-1.35 m (3.5-4.0 kg), and 
slightly smaller for T. rufescens . The tail comprises about half of the 
total length (Donadio and Gallardo, 1984). Canha (1961) reports a maximum size 
of 75 cm for his collection of T. nlgropunctatus. Males are generally larger 
and more robust than females (Palermo, 1983). 

THREATS TO SURVIVAL Tuplnambls species are probably the most extensively 
hunted reptiles in South America. Some are hunted for food and for the pet 
trade, the fat is thought to have medicinal properties, but it is exploitation 
for skins that provides the biggest commercial incentive. The levels of trade 
are so great that they inevitably pose a potential threat to population 
levels, although there are few data to suggest that populations are declining 
at alarming rates. An Italian reptile leather dealer reported that the market 
was very depressed in 1985. The usual size of Tupinanbis skins in trade is 
17-30 cm belly width (Bodiopelli, In lltt., 4 March 1986). There is a minor 
trade in live animals for pets. A supplier in the USA (South American 
Unlimited, New York) listed "Golden Tegues" (T. nlgropunctatus) on its price 
list in 1985 for US$15-20 each, depending on size. Habitat modification is 
also encroaching on the range of the species, but they are opportunistic 
animals, and may be able to establish themselves in cattle grazing areas, 
where they can capitalise on the abundant insect life associated with this 
type of farming, although population declines are still reported (G. Hemley, 
In lltt., 7 March 1986). Intensive arable farming and the use of pesticides 
would obviously pose a far greater threat. 

Argentina Both species are hunted heavily for skins and meat. The 
consumption of meat varies from region to region; in some areas it is much 
sought-after, while in others it is totally rejected. The fat is supposed to 
cure a variety of ailments, Including piles, sprains and infections, and is 
used to make poultices and as a laxative. It is frequently sold in markets in 
Santiago del Estero. Several hunting methods are used, the most common being 
with dogs, snares and digging out burrows. Trained dogs, particularly near 
Santiago del Estero, are used to locate the lizards or chase them into 
burrows. The skin is removed after making an incision along the back, and is 
then stretched out to dry. The importance of hunting varies from being the 
sole source of income in a few cases, to serving merely as a useful supplement 
(Donadio and Gallardo, 1984). The average value of skins exported between 1976 
and 1979 was US$4.64 (Mares and Ojeda, 1984). In 1986 the value of skins in 
crust was reported to be about US$5-6 each. Previously most of the skins were 

173 



Tuplnambls spp. 

transported to tanneries in Buenos Aires or Santiago del Estero but recently a 
number of tanneries have opened in the North of the country. This has made the 
exploitation still easier. Habitat alteration is also contributing to the 
population decline, particularly the removal of the forest and thicket 
vegetation to make way for cattle grazing. The western Chaco region (Salta and 
Santiago del Estero) is badly affected, and some 80-901 of the habitat has 
been altered for grazing and farming (G. Hemley, In lltt., 7 March 1986). 

Bolivia Large numbers of skins, possibly up to 300 000 a year, are believed 
to be illegally exported to Argentina (C. Hemley, In lltt., 25 March 1986). 

Brazil Tuplnambls is frequently hunted for its flesh and skin in Amazonia 
(Cunha, 1961), and also in Bahia, where it is thought to have a good flavour 
(Anon. , 1981b) . 

Colombia No information. 

Ecuador No information. 

French Guiana No information. 

Guyana No information. 

Paraguay Tegus are widely hunted by farmers for skin and meat and for 
protection of their poultry. The meat is usually eaten by the hunter and has 
no cash value. Sixty-seven farmers interviewed killed an average of 12.7 tegus 
each during a summer hunting season, which they sold for a mean total of 
US$35, equivalent to 20 days wages for casual labour. The skins are sold to 
travelling merchants who usually pass them on to specialist exporters in 
Ascuncion (Norman, 1987). Illegal skin exports to Argentina are still 
continuing (G. Hemley, In lltt., 25 March 1986). Figures compiled by the 
Hinisterio de Agriculture y Ganaderia showed exports in 1984 of about 91 000 
skins of T. tegulxln and 36 000 of Tuplnambls spp. (Acevedo Gomez, 1987). 

Peru Dixon and Soini (1986) reported that a large number of skins and 
several live T. tegulxln were shipped from Iquitos each year. 

Peru No information. 

Surinane There is said to be no skin hunting in the country but skins are 
though to be smuggled over the border from Brazil (M.S. Hoogmoed, In lltt., 
26 August 1987) . 

Trinidad and Tobago No information. 

Uruguay Tuplnambls is greatly affected by human activity in Uruguay. It 
is hunted for skins, meat or sport, often using dogs. The meat of the tail is 
particularly favoured, although it only provides an "occasional human meal". 
In some localities it is considered a pest and is blamed, probably 
incorrectly, for raiding eggs from chicken houses (Gudynas, 1981). The 
species is also affected by habitat destruction, particularly from 
hydro-electric dams and new forest plantations (Gudynas, 1981). 

Venezuela Tuplnambls is persecuted by rural people in Venezuela, as it is 
suspected of raiding chicken houses (Ramo and Ayarzaguena, 1983). There is 
not thought to be any systematic exploitation (Venezuela CITES MA, 1987). 



174 



Tuplnambls spp. 
Table la Minimum net imports of Tuplnambls skins reported to CITES. 





1980 




1981 




1982 




1983 




1984 




1985 




Albania 






1201 




















Australia 


4 




- 




1075 




50 




_ 




_ 




Austria 


3972 




13756 




25276 




24000 




14671 




17957 




Belgium 


6 




- 




22 




25232 




_ 




12913 




Canada 


25712 




20393 




1464 




10864 




33013 




40481 






- 




892 


ID 


_ 




837 


m2 


_ 




_ 




Chile 


- 




3 




- 




- 




- 




- 




China 


- 




- 




- 




_ 




_ 




5000 




Colombia 


14000 




33977 




14515 




_ 




_ 




_ 




Cyprus 


79 




- 




- 




- 




_ 




- 




Egypt 


- 




2600 




- 




- 




- 




- 




France 


- 




- 




124 




_ 




1122 




115179 




German D.R. 


- 




- 




- 




8 


m? 


_ 




_ 




Germany, F.R 


22747 




3075 


m 


22347 




96729 




_ 




_ 




Greece 


5454 




590 




409 




180 




1474 




2793 




Hong Kong 


12028 




35809 




32603 




14406 




88242 




10042 






3409 


kg 


- 




68 


kg 


3900 


kg 


3644 


kg 


10 


kg 


Hungary 


557 




- 




- 




- 




_ 




- 




Ireland 


216 




- 




- 




- 




_ 




_ 




Italy 


202402 




321853 




452506 




282436 




302660 




113439 






- 




301 


kB 


16 


kg 


1000 


m 


- 




- 




Japan 


- 




1504 


ICB 


- 




12452 


kg 


14783 


kg 


1873 


kg 


Lebanon 


2775 




1507 




- 




2300 




131 




_ 




Kuwait 


- 




- 




- 




- 




- 




1 




Malaysia 


- 




- 




- 




_ 




_ 




124 




Mexico 


12515 




46800 




34144 




106414 




100966 




47428 






5 




114 


m'^ 


1481 


kg 


261 


kg 


202 


■^1 
m' 


770 


kg 




21 


266 


- 




- 




52 


- 




Netherlands 


32 




_ 




_ 




- 




- 




- 




New Zealand 


_ 




- 




2 




- 




_ 




_ 




Panama 


1 




- 




- 




75203 




- 




- 




Paraguay 


- 




- 




- 




- 




_ 




10651 




Portugal 


80 




_ 




_ 




- 




- 




_ 




S. Arabia 


- 




- 




- 




4 




39 




3 




S. Africa 


1515 




5683 




100 




4 




- 




- 






_ 




- 




- 




786 


m 


- 




- 




S. Korea 


- 




- 




6 




- 




4621 




21950 




Spain 


_ 




_ 




- 




80854 




70003 




96515 




Sweden 


- 




- 




2 




- 




- 




- 




Switzerland 


27856 




65796 




49971 




20354 
46 


m? 


26561 




37154 




Taiwan 


- 




- 




- 




- 




24202 




12270 




Turkey 


- 




- 




- 




50 




33 




1000 




UK 


76160 




6996 




5 


m 


25099 




_ 




16074 




USA 


1454299 




3044137 




1128277 




772640 




1465389 




918468 






20297 


m 


9806 


m 


106 


m 


- 




2 


m 


318 


m 


Uruguay 


- 




- 




- 




2025 




260 




- 




Venezuela 


1895 




1615 




1333 




1400 




2230 




1800 




Unknown 


4100 




1372 




22834 




- 




- 




- 




Total 


1868405 




3604088 




1787010 




1540244 




2135617 




1481242 






3414 


kB 


1919 


kg 


1565 


kg 


16613 


kg 


18629 


kg 


2653 


kg 




20297 


m 


13773 


m 


111 


m 


1786 


m 


2 


m 


318 


m 




21 


m2 


266 


m2 


- 




891 


m2 


52 


n,2 


- 





175 



Tuplnantbls spp. 



Table lb. 
CITES. 



Minimum net commercial imports of live Tuplnambls reported to 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1986 



1985 



Austria 




1 


10 






4 


4 


Belgium 




_ 


- 


20 


- 


- 


1 


Canada 




5764 


29 


46 


23 


59 


135 


Denmark 




15 


6 


- 


5 


39 


6 


German D 


R. 


- 


- 


- 


_ 


_ 


2 


Germany , 


F.R. 


223 


231 


247 


162 


225 


309 


Israel 




- 


- 


3 


1 


- 


2 


Italy 




- 


4 


14 


43 


- 


20 


Japan 




12 


98 


69 


66 


69 


21 


Mexico 




10 


- 


- 


- 


_ 


- 


Netherlands 


4 


12 


_ 


_ 


2 


55 


New Zealand 


2 


- 


- 


_ 


_ 


_ 


Poland 




- 


- 


- 


- 


20 


_ 


S. Korea 




- 


- 


- 


_ 


5 


_ 


Spain 




- 


6 


2 


18 


_ 


_ 


Sri Lanka 


- 


- 


_ 


2 


_ 


_ 


Switzerland 


68 


70 


60 


27 


_ 


12 


UAE 




- 


- 


3 


_ 


_ 


_ 


UK 




- 


179 


202 


209 


229 


201 


USA 




571 


1867 


1811 


2539 


2569 


2731 


Total 




6670 


2512 


2477 


3095 


3221 


3499 


INTERNATIONAL 


TRADE 


There have 


been several 


analyses 


published 


in recent 



years which include details of international trade in Tuplnambls skins 
(Anon., 1983; Hemley, 1984; Mares and Ojeda, 1984). Most have been based 
either on the Annual Reports of Parties to CITES or on the reported exports 
from Argentina. The CITES reports are summarised in Tables 1 and 2; only 
trade in live animals and skins was considered and all reports of Tuplnambls 
spp., T. rufescens, T. tegulxln and T. tegulxln nlgropunctatus were lumped 
together. 

Minimum net trade in skins of Tuplnambls (Table la) varied from over 
1 481 000 to over 3 600 000 between 1980 and 1985. Trade reached a peak in 
1981, and subsequently declined (see also Hemley, 1984), although there was an 
increase in 1984. The main importing countries have been the USA, Canada, 
Mexico, Hong, Kong,, and several European countries, especially Italy, France, 
F.R. Germany, Austria, UK and Spain. It should be noted that France did not 
report imports of Appendix II species before 1984, and, as it was a major 
importer in 1985, the totals shown in the earlier years in Table la may be 
artificially low. Japan has usually featured as a net exporter of skins, 
indicating that large numbers of skins are imported and subsequently 
re-exported, presumably after tanning. The minimum net imports of live 
Tuplnambls (Table lb) have varied between 2477 and 6670, and are therefore 
insignificant in comparison with the akin trade. The major net importing 
countries have been the USA, Canada, F.R. Germany and the UK. 



176 



Tuplnajnbls spp. 

Table 2a. Reported countries of origin or export for cononercial exports of 
skins of Tuplnambls reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Countries with wild populations of Tuplnambls 



Argentina 


1263395 




1890834 




894490 




1070300 




1448929 




1312881 






3414 


1^6 


1714 


kg 


1050 


H 


2561 


kg 


2013 


kg 


780 


kB 




- 




3936 


m 


111 


m 


_ 




3 


m 


318 


m 




29 


m? 


263 


m2 


_ 




- 




52 


m2 


1 


m? 


Bolivia 


- 




_ 




- 




99999 




12500 




130301 




Brazil 


30 




137000 




551 




_ 




8 




238 




Colombia 


535 




16817 




2062 




10132 




318 




3500 




Paraguay 


604926 




1893658 




731854 




465464 




329529 




59203 






- 




301 


kg 


515 


1C6 


12739 


leg 


16013 


H 


1873 


kg 




20297 


m 


- 




- 




1786 


m 


- 




- 




Peru 


5371 




- 




_ 




- 




_ 




- 




Uruguay 


- 




- 




59355 




- 




6000 




3413 




Countries wi 


thout wild 


populations 


of Tuplnambls 












Canada 


4 




3 




4 




1 




- 




- 




France 


13973 




9619 




_ 




_ 




- 




- 




Germany, F.R 


489 




12818 




- 




- 




- 




- 






- 




590 


m 


- 




- 




- 




- 




Indonesia 


820 




2250 




_ 




- 




- 




- 




Italy 


18224 




37876 




- 




- 




- 




- 




Japan 


- 




64740 




- 




4849 




1946 




26500 






_ 




6172 


m 


- 




_ 




- 




- 




Panama 


2 




- 




213189 




71392 




10830 




- 




Netherlands 


1980 




- 




- 




- 




- 




- 




Nigeria 


2884 




- 




- 




- 




- 




- 




Singapore 


- 




3612 




- 




- 


. 


- 




8000 




S. Korea 


- 




5280 


m 


- 




- 




- 




- 




Spain 


12876 




13303 




- 




- 




- 




- 




Sweden 


1000 




- 




- 




- 




- 




- 




Switzerland 


- 




- 




27 




_ 




- 




- 




Thailand 


7 




- 




- 




- 




- 




- 




UK 


3438 




17013 




532 




1010 




1357 




- 




USA 


9249 




508 




751 




16629 




5189 




8020 






- 




_ 




- 




1764 


ICB 


- 




- 




Unknown 


40125 




73865 




64579 




55846 




150826 




1825 






- 




3801 


m 


- 




865 


m? 


603 


m 


- 





The apparent countries of origin of the skins in trade are shown in Table 2a. 
These show that Argentina was the major exporter in all years except 1981, 
when Paraguay took over this position. Exports from Argentina have varied 
between 0.8 million and 1.9 million. This is remarkably consistent with the 
trade revealed by the Argentinian Customs export statistics quoted by Mares 
and Ojeda (1984), which showed annual exports between 0.7 million and 1.6 
million from 1976 to 1979. Other major source countries in South America have 
been Paraguay, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay and Bolivia. The 99 999 skins in 
1983, country of origin Bolivia, were reported as an import to the USA from 
Haiti, but is possible that the quantity was an error. Some 19 000 Paraguayan 
skins were imported from Haiti in the previous year, and there is known to be 
a reptile leather tannery in Haiti (G. Hemley, In lltt., 25 March 1986). 
Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay all have bans on the export of wildlife products. 



177 



Tuplnambls spp. 

Table 2b Reported countries of origin or export for commercial exports of 
live Tuplnambls reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Countries wi 


th 


wild populat 


ions of 


Tuplnambls 








Argentina 




4031 




- 




1 


2 


48 


241 


Bolivia 




2 




- 




- 


10 


408 


- 


Brazil 




- 




- 




- 


- 


- 


6 


Colombia 




108 




763 




1 


_ 


- 


_ 


Fr. Guiana 




_ 




1 




_ 


_ 


_ 


_ 


Guyana 




2570 




1720 




1916 


2849 


2637 


2903 


Paraguay 




7 




14 




2 


- 


- 


- 


Suriname 




- 




10 




20 


190 


95 


43 


Venezuela 




- 




- 




- 


- 


5 


- 


Countries wi 


thout wild 


popu 


lations 


of 


Tuplnambls 








El Salvador 




- 




- 




520 


- 


30 


261 


Germany, F.R 




10 




- 




- 


- 


_ 


_ 


Guatemala 




22 




_ 




_ 


_ 


3 


_ 


Honduras 




2 




4 




_ 


_ 


^ 


_ 


Italy 




- 




- 




- 


- 


10 


_ 


Panama 




36 




- 




- 


_ 


_ 


- 


Thailand 




4 




_ 




- 


_ 


_ 


48 


Togo 




- 




10 




- 


_ 


- 


_ 


UK 




5 




_ 




2 


_ 


„ 


_ 


USA 




7 




- 




31 


16 


3 


„ 


Unknown 




10 




168 




29 


50 


20 


2 



Most of the apparent exports from countries without wild populations of 
Tuplnambls probably represent re-exports where the country of origin was not 
specified. Panama is notable as the source of considerable numbers of skins 
between 1982 and 1984, as it is known to feature as an entrepot for wildlife 
trade leaving South America (Vallester, 1978). A large tannery in Panama, 
which closed in 1985, was owned by an Argentinian skin trader (G. Hemley, In 
21tt., 25 March 1986). The majority of these were systematic errors, as 
neither Canada nor Switzerland reported countries of origin. The skins from 
Indonesia, Nigeria and Thailand may represent incorrectly identified Varanus 
skins. The source countries for the live Tuplnambls are shown in Table 2b. 
Since 1980, the major supplier has been Guyana, which also supplies numerous 
other birds and reptiles to the European and North American pet trade. 

Unlike many other South American wildlife products in trade, the majority of 
Tuplnambls skins appear to have been legally acquired and exported from 
Argentina. However there are still very large quantities which have apparently 
originated in Paraguay, which has a total ban on wildlife exports. It is 
possible that some of the skins declared as originating in Bolivia also came 
from Paraguay. Argentina already has a management programme for Tuplnambls, 
which sets quotas for skin hunting and export, although these may not be 
adequately enforced. Furthermore they cannot be related to knowledge of 
sustainable offtakes at present as the size of the wild population is not 
known. A research programme is under way to provide such information, and if 
this can be used to revise the quotas, then there is a good potential for 
establishing a rational and sustainable exploitation plan. The fact that 
Tuplnambls populations are reported to be falling slowly in Argentina 
suggests that the current levels of exploitation are excessive, but not 
grossly so. 



178 



Tuplnambls spp. 

CONSERVATION MEASURES The legal protection status of Tuplnambls spp. is 
summarised in Table 3. 

Table 3 Legal prohibition on the commercial hunting, internal trade and 
commercial export of T. tegulxln . Dates are those on which the legislation 
came into force. A - All live animals & parts; L - Live animals only; 
S - Skins; P - Allowed under permit; C - Closed seasons may be imposed; * - 
these territories are Overseas Departements of France with which the EEC may 
trade without the imposition of CITES controls; ? - no information (Fuller et 
al . , 1987). 





CITES 


Hunting 


Trade 


Export 


Argentina 


1981 


C 




P 




P 




Bolivia 


1979 


- 




S 


1979 


L 


1984 + 


Brazil 


1975 


A 


1967 


A 


1967 


A 


1967 


Colombia 


1981 


P 




- 




L 


1978 


Ecuador 


1975 


- 




- 




A 


1981 


Fr. Guiana 


1978 « 


- 




A 


1986 


A 


1986 


Guyana 


1977 


- 




- 




A 


1986 ++ 


Paraguay 


1977 


- 




A 


1975 


A 


1975 


Peru 


1975 


P 




A 


1973 


A 


1973 


Surinajne 


1981 


- 




- 




P 




Trinidad & Tobago 


198^1 


? 




? 




P 




Uruguay 


1975 


A 


1978 


A 


1978 


A 


1978 


Venezuela 


1978 


C 




A 


1970 


A 


1970 



+ Bolivia banned the export of all wildlife products from July 1985 for one 

year. 

++ Export quotas of 7200 live T. nlgropunctatus were suggested for 1987 and 

1988. 



Argentina Exports of raw skins are prohibited, and skins must be tanned or 
semi-processed (in crust). The harvest is regulated by the setting of quotas 
and closed seasons, which vary from province to province; neither mechanism 
appears to be effective (G. Hemley, in lltt., 7 March 1986). Attempts are 
being made to regulate the harvest on a Federal level; it is hoped to set a 
maximum total export quota of 1 million skins, but agreement from the 
provincial authorities has not yet been achieved (E.G. Gonzalez Ruiz, In 
lltt. to G. Hemley, 12 March 1986). In Santiago del Estero, hunting is 
permitted all year round. The closed seasons rarely have any basis in a 
knowledge of the biology of the animal, and are set more for the convenience 
of the hunters. It was suggested that hunting should be prohibited during the 
breeding season (November to January) , and that a minimum size limit of 20 cm 
be set (Donadio and Gallardo, 1984). 

Uruguay Tuplnambls is not specifically protected in Uruguay, although 
there is a blanket ban on wildlife trade. It was thought that population 
surveys and further conservation measures were needed to prevent further 
population decline (Gudynas, 1981). 

CAPTIVE BREEDING Tuplnambls is regularly kept in captivity, and has been 

successfully bred. A total of 48 animals in 21 different collections were 

listed in an international survey of 260 zoological collections in 1985 
(Slavens, 1985). 



179 



Tuplnambls spp. 

A project is under way to investigate captive-breeding of Tuplnambls in 
Formosa, Argentina, jointly co-ordinated by the provincial Government and a 
local tannery. Two other traders have started trying to breed Tuplnambls in 
captivity in Argentina since 198S, but no results are available yet. 
T. rufescens adapts readily to captivity and tames easily (G. Hemley, in 
lltt., 7 March 1986). All of the breeding operations are still experimental, 
and do not have authorization to operate commercially. To achieve this they 
will need to comply with Resolution No. 144 (1983) on the rearing of species 
included in Appendix II (E.O. Gonzalez Ruiz, In lltt. to G. Hemley, 12 March 
1986). 

REFERENCES 

Acevedo Gomez, C. (1987). Especies de fauna amenazadas por comercio en el 

Paraguay. Ministerio de Agriculture y Ganaderia, Unpublished Report. 
Achaval, F. and Langguth, A. (1972). NOta sobre habitos anfibios de 

Tuplnambls tegulxln (L) (Sauria, Teiidae). Boletln de la Socledad 

Blologlca Uruguaya 2:107. 
Anon. (1981a). Plan de manejo, Parque Naclonal da Tljuca. IBDF, Brasilia. 
Anon. (1981b). Plan de manejo, Reserva Blologlco de Poco das Antas . IBDF, 

Brasilia. 
Anon. (1982). Plan de manejo, Parque Naclonal Ybycul . Ministerio de 

Agricultura y Ganaderia, Asuncion. 
Anon. (1983). International trade in skins of monitor and tegu lizards, 

1975-1979. Traffic Bulletin ii(b): 71-79. 
Anon. (1985). Iguanas, In: Manejo de fauna sllvestre y desarrollo rural. 

FAO, Santiago, Documento Technical No. 2, pp. 46-73. 
Boulenger, G.A. (1885). Catalogue of the lizards In the British Museum. Vol. 

2, ed. 2, 492 pp. 
Cei, J.M. and Scolaro, J. A. (1982). A population of Tuplnambls from northern 

Patagonia, South of the Rio Negro, Argentina. Her petolog leal Review 

13(1): 26. 
Cunha, O.R. da (1961). II Lacertilios da Amazonia. Os Lagartos da Amazonia 

Brasiliera com especial referencia aos representados na cole^ao do Museu 

Goeldi . Boletlm do Museu Paraense Bmlllo Goeldl , Nova Serle, Zoologla 

(39): 1-189. 
Crawford, S.C. (1931). Field key to the lizards and amphibians of British 

Guiana. Annals of the Carnegie Museum 21(1): 11-42. 
Dixon, J.R. and Soini, P. (1986). The reptiles of the Upper Amazon Basin, 

Iqultos Region, Peru. Part 1 Lizards and Amphlsbaenlans . Part 2 

Crocodlllans , Turtles and Snakes. Milwaukee Public Museum, 154. 
Donadio, O.E and Gallardo, J.M. (1984). Biologia y conservacion de las 

especies del genero Tuplnambls (Squamata, Sauria, Teiidae) en el 

Republica Argentina. Revlsta del Museo Argentina de Clenclas Naturales 

"Bernardino Rlvadavla" , Zoologla 13: 117-127. 
Duellman, W.E. (1987). Lizards in an Amazonian rain forest community: 

resource utilization and abundance. National Geographic Research 3(4): 

489-500. 
Fuller, K.S., Swift, B., Jorgensen, A. and Brautigam, A. (1987). Latin 

American wildlife trade laws. Second Edition (Revised). World Wildlife 

Fund-US, 418 pp. 
Gallardo, J.M. (1977). Reptiles de los alrededores de Buenos Aires. 

Editorial Universi taria de Buenos Aires, 213 pp. 
Gudynas, E. (1981). Some notes from Uruguay on the behaviour, ecology, and 

conservation of the macroteiid lizard, Tuplnambls tegulxln. Bulletin of 

the Chicago Herpetologlcal Society 16(2): 29-39. 
Hardy, J.D. (1982). Biogeography of Tobago, West Indies, with special 

reference to amphibians and reptiles: a review. Bulletin of the Maryland 

Herpetologlcal Society 18(2): 37-142. 



180 



Tuplnambls spp. 

Hellmich, W. (1960). Die Sauria des Gran Chaco und seiner Randgebeite. 

Bayerische Akademle det Ulssenschaften Math-Natur . Klasse. Abhandlungen 

(NeuG Folge) (101): 1-131. 
Hemley, G. (1984). World trade in tegu skins. Traffic Bulletin 5(5/6): 60-62. 
Hoogmoed, M.S. (1973). Notes on the herpetofauna of Surinam IV. The lizards 

and amphisbaenians of Surinam. Blogeographlca 4: 1-419. 
Hoogmoed, M.S. (1979). The herpetofauna of the Guianan region. In: Duellman, 

W.E. (ed.) The South American herpetofauna: its origin, evolution, and 

dispersal. Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas, Monograph 

(7): 241-280. 
Hoogmoed, M.S. and Lescure, J. (1975). An annotated checklist of the lizards 

of French Guiana, mainly based on two recent collections. Zoologlsche 

Mededellngen 49(13): 141-172. 
Mares, M.A. and Ojeda, R.A. (1984). Faunal commercialization and conservation 

in South America. Blosclence 34(9): 580-584. 
Mertens, R. (1972). Herpetofauna Tobagana. Stuttgarter Beltrage zur 

Naturkunde 252: 1-22. 
Milstead, W.W. (1961). Notes on the teiid lizards in southern Brazil. Copela 

1961(4): 493-495. 
Miyata, K. (1982). A checklist of the reptiles of Ecuador with a bibliography 

of Ecuadorean herpetology . Smithsonian Herpetological Information Service 

No. 54: 1-70. 
Norman, D.R. (1987). Man and tegu lizards in Eastern Paraguay. Biological 

Conservation 41: 39-56. 
Palermo, M.A. (ed.) (1983). La Iguana Overa. Fauna Argentina 22: 1-32. 
Peters, J. A. and Donoso-Barros , R. (1970). Catalogue of the Neotropical 

Squamata: Part II. Lizards and Amphisbaenians. Bulletin of the US 

National Museum 297: 1-293. 
Presch, W. (1973). A review of the Tegus, Lizard genus Tuplnambls (Sauria: 

Teiidae) from South America. Copela 1973(4): 740-746. 
Presch, W. (1974). A survey of the dentition of the macroteiid lizards 

(Teiidae: Lacertilia). Herpetologlca 30(4): 344-349. 
Ramo, C. and Ayarzaguena, J. (1983). Fauna Llanera. Cuadernos Lagoven, 

Caracas, 84 pp. 
Rivero-Blanco, C. and Dixon, J.R. (1979). Origin and distribution of the 

herpetofauna of the dry lowland regions of northern South America. In: 

Duellman, W.E. (ed.) The South American herpetofauna: its origin, 

evolution, and dispersal. Museum of Natural History, University of 

Kansas, Monograph (7): 281-298. 
Slavens, F.L. (1985). Inventory of live reptiles and amphibians In captivity 

current January 1, 198S . F.L. Slavens, Seattle, Washington, 341 pp. 
Torres Santibanez, H. (1978). Conservacion y manejo de la fauna silvestre del 

Parque Nacional Defensores del Chaco. FAO Documento de Trabajo FAO/SFN: 

6/PAR/02/T, 61 pp. 
Vallester, E. (1978). Informe de Panama sobre la situacion de la fauna 

silvestre. In: Morales, R. , HacFarland, C, Incer, J. and Hobbs , A. (eds), 

Prlmera Reunion Regional Centroamerlcana Sobre Vlda Silvestre. Centre 

Agronomico Tropical de Investigacion y Ensenanza, Turrialba, Costa Rica, 

pp. 43-64. 
Vanzolini, P.E. (1976). On the lizards of a cerrado-caatinga contact: 

evolutionary and zoogeographical Implications (Sauria). Papels Avulsos , 

Zoologlca, Sao Paulo 29(16): 111-119. 



181 



SAVANNA MONITOR 

Varanus exanthematicus (Bosc, 1792) 

Order SAURIA 



Reconmended list: 2 
[Possible problem] 



Family VARANIDAE 



SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS A large diurnal lizard, widespread in sub-Saharan 
Africa, it has been recorded in: Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Central African 
Republic, Chad, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, 
Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, 
Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Yemen A.R, 
Yemen P.D.R., Zaire, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is likely to occur in Benin, 
Burkina, Djibouti, Niger and Swaziland, and may be found in Burundi and 
Rwanda. Inhabits typically savanna and open woodland habitats. The varied 
diet includes small vertebrates, eggs and invertebrates. No detailed 
information on population sizes and trends is available, but the species is 
said to be common in protected areas and other sparsely inhabited regions in 
southern Africa, and scarce in settled regions due to human predation. The 
same is likely to hold for northern parts of the range. 

Widely used locally for food and for leather goods. Internationally, 
relatively small numbers are in the live animal trade, with an annual mean of 
some 1708 specimens in recent years, but very large numbers of skins are 
traded, an annual mean of 88 138 from 1980 to 1985. Nigeria has been the 
reported origin of most of these skins, with Mali, Sudan and South Africa also 
contributing large numbers in different years. Most of the live animals 
originated in Ghana, Kenya and Togo. 

While there is no evidence that the species as a whole is threatened, this 
scale of exploitation, coupled with local utilisation and persecution, is 
likely to lead to local depletions. Field data on population status in 
selected countries are required. 



DISTRIBUTION Widespread in Africa south of the Sahara, from Senegal east to 
Ethiopia and Somalia, and south through the continent to South Africa, but 
apparently absent from areas of tropical rain forest in west and central 
Africa (Loveridge, 1957; Mertens , 1942; Mertens, 1963, Schmidt, 1919). 
Specific records are sparse but the species has been recorded in: Angola, 
Botswana, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, 
Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, 
Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, 
Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Yemen A.R., Yemen P.D.R., Zaire, Zambia, 
Zimbabwe. It is likely to occur in Benin, Burkina, Djibouti, Niger and 
Swaziland, and may be found in Burundi and Rwanda. 

Mertens (1942) recognised four subspecies: V. e. exanthematlcus from Senegal 
to Egypt; V. e. mlcrostlctus from Ethiopia to Tanzania; V. e. alblgularls 
from southern Africa; and V. e. angolGnsls which is confined to Angola and 
southern Zaire. 



Angola Mertens (1942) noted the occurrence of 
cited numerous records of l^. e. angolensls . 



e. mlcrostlctus and 



Benin No records have been located, but the species is most likely to occur 
as it found in neighbouring countries, Togo and Nigeria. 



Botswana Mertens (19A2) cited several records of V. e. mlcrostlctus. 
is particularly associated with the drier areas (Auerbach. 1985). 



It 



182 



Vazanus exanthematlcus 

Burkina No records have been located, but the species is most lilcely to 
occur as it found in neighbouring countries, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast and 
Mali. V. exantbematlcus is mentioned by name in the national legislation. 

Burundi Mertens (1942) noted no localities in Burundi, but recorded 
V. e. mlcrostlctus from the Tabora District of Tanzania and from 
south-eastern Zaire. 

Cameroon Two species of Varanus occur in Cameroon, V. nllotlcus and 
what is referred to as I', grlseus, the "Varan de terre" (Tsague, 1986). 
V. grlseus is also referred to in the national legislation. However, it is 
unlikely that V. grlseus occurs in Cameroon as it is confined in Africa to 
the extreme north (Mertens, 1942), and it is most probable that "V . grlseus" 
refers to V, exantbematlcus. Mertens gave no localities for the country, 
but he cited records for V. e. exantbematlcus as "Lake Chad", without 
specifying which shore. "V. grlseus" is said to occur in Kalamalou4, Waza, 
Boubandjida, Benoue and Faro protected areas (Tsague, 1986), all of which are 
located in the north of the country. 

Central African Republic V. e. exantheinatlcus was recorded from Batafango 
(Mertens, 1942). 

Chad V. e. exantbematlcus was recorded from around Lake Chad and Bahr el 
Ghazal (Mertens, 1942). 

Djibouti No records have been located, but the species is most likely to 
occur as it found in neighbouring areas of Somalia (Simonetta and Magnoni, 
1986) and Ethiopa. 

Egypt Mertens (1942) noted one 1826 record from "Aegypten", but it seems 
unlikely that this refers to Egypt. 

Ethiopia Mertens (1942) cited several records of V. e. exantbematlcus 
from Eritrea and of V. e. mlcrostlctus from Abyssinia. 

Gambia Records of V. e. exantbematlcus noted by Mertens (1942), including 
HacCarthy Island in the Gambia River. 

Ghana Mertens (1942) noted one record of I', e. exantbematlcus from the 
Gold Coast and one from Jendi (=Yende) in what was then Togo but is now Ghana. 

Guinea Klaptocz (1913) recorded V. exantbematlcus from "Am Niger", French 
Guinea, presumably meaning the Niger River. Mertens (1942) cited another 
record of V. e. exantbematlcus from Guinea. 

Guinea-Bissau Recorded from Blssalanca, Brene and Tor, on Bissau Island; 
Canchungo, Pecixe and Pitche (Managas, 1955). Records of V. e. 
exantbematlcus were noted by Mertens (1942) 

Ivory Coast V. exantbematlcus occurs In Comoe National Park (Anon., 
1979), and Is likely to occur in other dry areas. 

Kenya Numerous records of V. e. alblgularls were noted by Mertens (1942), 
from Ludwar to Malindi. 

Lesotho V. exantbematlcus Is said to be extinct In Lesotho (Lesotho, 
Ministry of Agriculture and Marketing, in lltt., 1986). 

Liberia One record of V. e. exantbematlcus was noted by Mertens (1942). 



183 



Varanus exanthematlcus 

Malawi Mertens (19A2) noted records of V. e. alblgularls from Nyassaland. 

Mali V. e. exanthematlcus was recorded from Tombouctou (Chabanaud, 1917) 
and Goundam (Angel, 1933), Kidal and north of Bamako (Mertens, 1942). 

Mauritania Mertens (1912) cited Flower (1929) indicating that the 
distribution of V. e. exanthematlcus extended from Mauritania to the Niles, 
though no records from Mauritania were given. 

Mozambique Mertens (1942) cited records of V'. e. mlcrostlctus from 
Chifumbazi and V. e. alblgularls from Quitangonha, Sena, Tette and Pungwe 
River. 

Namibia Numerous records of I', e. alblgularls noted by Mertens (1942). 

Niger V. exanthematlcus is said to be "unknown" in Niger (Niger CITES MA, 
1986). Mertens gave no localities for the country, but he cited records for 
V. e. exanthematlcus as "Lake Chad", without specifying which shore. 

Nigeria Said to occur throughout the savanna zone (Nigeria CITES MA, 
1987). Dunger (1967) reported it to be common in grassland in the north. 

Rwanda Mertens (1942) noted no localities in Rwanda, but recorded 
V. e. mlcrostlctus from the Tabora District of Tanzania and from 
south-eastern Zaire. V. exanthematlcus is not mentioned in national 
legislation, although V. nllotlcus is. 

Senegal Numerous records of V. e. exanthematlcus noted by Mertens (1942). 

Sierra Leone Reported to be present in the Outamba-Kilimi area, but no 
specimens were collected (Teleki, 1980). 

Somalia V. e. mlcrostlctus has been recorded from Wewst Galbeed, 
Togdheer, Bari, Nugal, Mogadishu, Lower Shebelle, Bay, Gedo and Lower Jubba 
(Simonetta and Magnoni, 1986). Mertens (1942) cited numerous records. 

South Africa Found throughout the country except in the western and 
southern Cape Province (McLachlan, 1978). Numerous records of 
V. e. alblgularls noted by Mertens (1942). 

Sudan Numerous records of V. e. exanthematlcus were cited by Mertens 
(1942), including Dongola, Kordofan, Sennaar, Roseires, Blue and White Niles. 

Swaziland No records have been located, but the species is most likely to 
occur as it found in neighbouring countries, South Africa and Mozambique. 

Tanzania Numerous records of V. e. mlcrostlctus were noted by Mertens 
(1942), from the Tabora District to Lindi. Pakenham (1983) refutes the 
earlier records from the island of Zanzibar, but noted a sight record from the 
island which could have been of this species. Laurent (1964) described an 
endemic subspecies, V. e. lonldesl , from south-east Tanzania. 

Togo Records of V. e. exanthematlcus were noted by Mertens (1942), 
including Bismarckburg , Mangu, Basari and Sokod6 . 

Uganda One record of V. e. mlcrostlctus was cited by Mertens (1942). 

Yemen Arab Republic Arnold (1986) noted the occurrence of 
V. exanthematlcus from North Yemen, but said that no specimens had been 
collected from there. There is some dispute that the form occurring in Yemen 

184 



Vat anus exanthematlcus 
may represent a new species. 

Yemen Peoples' Democratic Republic Two specimens were collected from El 
Khobar (Arnold, 1986). 

Zaire V. e. exanthematlcus was recorded from Mauda, in the north-east; 
V. e. mlcrostlctus from Kikondja, Kansenia, Lulcafu, Kiambi and Lulculu in the 
south-east; and V. e. angolensls from Kabengere (Hertens, 1942). 

Zambia V. e. alblgularls was recorded from the "bank of Loangwa" and 
north of the Zambezi (Mertens, 1942). Said to be widespread, but most 
abundant in the Zambezi and Luanga valleys (Broadley, 1971). 

Zimbabwe Numerous records of V. e. alblgularls were noted (Mertens, 19A2). 



POPULATION Said to be still common in sparsely inhabited areas of southern 
Africa generally, including the Kalahari region. National Parks and cattle 
ranches, but scarce in densely populated communal land due to human predation 
(D.G. Broadley, In lltt., 18 March 1986). The same is likely to be true for 
other parts of the range. Little information is available for individual 
countries . 

Botswana V. exanthematlcus is said to be more common than V. nllotlcus 
around Gaberone (Auerbach, 1985). 

Guinea-Bissau Said to have been common in 1896 (Mana^as, 1955). 

Kenya Common along the coast and in Tsavo East and Tsavo West National 
Parks (A.D. Mackay, In lltt., 26 March 1986). 

Malawi Said to be uncommon and seldom seen (C. Dudley, In lltt., lb April 
1986) . 

Mall Said to have been very rare around Goundam (Angel, 1933). 

Mozambique Uncommon in most areas, though there are good populations in 
conservation areas (Mozambique CITES MA, 1986). 

Namibia Said to be abundant in some Nature Conservation Areas, such as 

Etosha, but marginal in others. Otherwise, scarce in heavily populated 

communal lands, but relatively common elsewhere (Namibia Department of 

Agriculture and Nature Conservation, In lltt., 1987). 

Nigeria Said to be common, but threatened (Nigeria CITES MA, 1987). 
Formerly reported common in grassland in the north (Dunger, 1967). 

South Africa Considered to be vulnerable outside game reserves, though 
common in reserves such as Ndumu and the southern Kruger Park (McLachlan, 
1978). The species is said to be less common than V. nllotlcus, but often 
encountered in the larger Zululand reserves (South Africa CITES MA, 1987). 

Uganda Said to be common in the north-east of the country, where cattle 
keep the grass short (Uganda Game Department, in lltt., 1987). 

Zambia Said to be most abundant in the Zambezi and Luanga valleys 

(Broadley, 1971). Common in wooded savannas of Zambia and other parts of 

southern Africa, but threatened by utilisation and habitat changes (M.P. 
Simbotwe, In lltt., October 1983). 



185 



Varsnus exanthematlcus 

Zimbabwe Still connnon in sparsely populated areas, though scarce in the 
densely populated communal lands due to predation (D.G. Broadley, In lltt., 
18 March 1986) . 

HABITAT AWD ECOLOGY A large diurnal lizard, up to nearly 1.5 m in length. 
Typically associated with dry areas, especially the variety of savanna-type 
habitats and Brachystegla woodland. Occupies animal burrows, holes in the 
ground or rock crevices, and may aestivate therein during acute drought. The 
diet mainly comprises small mammals and birds, but vertebrate eggs and 
invertebrates are also taken. In South Africa, the diet consists mainly of 
millipedes and tenebrionid beetles. An able swimmer; often climbs into trees 
when disturbed or while resting. Females lay a clutch of 30-40 eggs, 
ca 60 X 35 mm, in a hole which is covered over for the incubation period 
(Auerbach, 1985; Broadley, 1971; Dunger, 1967). Smaller clutches of 7-15 eggs 
are reported for V. e. alblgularls (South Africa CITES MA, 1987). 

THREATS TO SURVIVAL Apparently adversely affected by human predation for 
both food and skins (D.G. Broadley, In lltt., 18 March 1986; Dunger, 1967; 
M.P. Simbotwe, in lltt., October 1983). No details are available on the 
effect of these factors on lizard populations, or on their relative intensity 
in different parts of the continent. 

Botswana There seems to be no large-scale commercial collecting although 
local food use is important (R.D. Auerbach, pers. comm. , 1986). 

Mozambique There has been very little commercial exploitation of the 
species over the last ten years, but it is hunted for food in rural areas, and 
human predation is said to be significant. Bush fires may also pose a threat 
(Mozambique CITES MA, 1986). 

Namibia Although many V. exanthematlcus are killed on roads, the species 
is not particularly sought after as food (Namibia Department of Agriculture 
and Nature Conservation, In lltt., 1987). 

South Africa Said to be exploited for skins and pets. It is also often 
killed out of fear and is sometimes used by witchdoctors for medicinal 
purposes (McLachlan, 1978). 

Uganda The species is not used for food in the north-east of the country, 

but is regarded as a delicacy in the West-Nile region. It is also persecuted 

as a notorious predator of chickens' eggs (Uganda Game Department, in lltt., 
1987). 

INTERNATIONAL TRADE CITES reports, summarised in Tables 1 and 2, indicate 
that large numbers of V. exanthema ticus are involved in the skin trade. 
Reported quantities have ranged between 14 010 and 215 952 between 1980 and 
1985, with an annual mean of 88 138. Nigeria has been the reported origin of 
most of these skins, with Mali, Sudan and South Africa also contributing large 
numbers in different years. Many of the skins were re-exported from F.R. 
Germany in 1985. It is not known whether skins exported from Nigeria are 
collected in that country or in other parts of West Africa. In the absence of 
good population information for any part of the range, the sustainabili ty of 
trade cannot be assessed. Although local declines have been noted, there is 
no evidence that the species as a whole is significantly threatened. 

Relatively small numbers of live animals (mostly from Ghana, Kenya and Togo) 
are in reported international trade, between 434 and 5448 from 1980 to 1985, 
with an annual mean of 1708; most of these were imported by the USA, with 
lesser numbers to F.R. Germany and other parts of Europe. 

186 



Varanus exanthema tlcus 

Table 1 Minimum net imports of skins of Varanus exanthematlcus reported to 
CITES. Only transactions recorded by number of slcins were included 





1980 


1981 


1982 


1983 


1984 


1985 


Albania 




287 










Australia 


- 


- 


8 


_ 


_ 


_ 


Austria 


2835 


4431 


1044 


6360 


_ 


_ 


Belgium 


329 


- 


- 


_ 


_ 


_ 


Canada 


1128 


80 


60 


420 


360 


507 


France 


4517 


5030 


- 


_ 


_ 


_ 


German D.R. 


- 


- 


_ 


1 


_ 


_ 


Germany, F.R. 


37456 


8363 


_ 


_ 


_ 


_ 


Hong Kong 


60 


25709 


486 


_ 


450 


_ 


Italy 


29925 


- 


- 


— 


13113 


302 


Lebanon 


24 


_ 


- 


_ 


_ 


_ 


Netherlands 


- 


- 


1350 


- 


_ 


_ 


New Zealand 


- 


- 


1 


_ 


_ 


_ 


South Africa 


248 


72 


100 


_ 


— 


_ 


Spain 


- 


_ 


_ 


7301 


. 


_ 


Switzerland 


- 


12007 


3 


- 


8 


- 


Uruguay 


- 


- 


22 


- 


_ 


_ 


UK 


5018 


- 


- 


9315 


_ 


_ 


USA 


30032 


159973 


15812 


8692 


- 


143450 


Yugoslavia 


- 


- 


- 


- 


79 


94 


Country Unknown 


- 


- 


300 


- 


- 


- 


TOTAL 


111572 


215952 


19183 


23760 


14010 


144351 



Table 2 Reported countries of origin (or exporting country if no origin 
reported) and quantities of transactions in slcins of V. exanthematlcus 
reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



a. Countries with wild populations of V. exanthematlcus. 



Mali 

Nigeria 

Sudan 

South Africa 

Senegal 



118916 



- 


1 


1460 


- 


- 


168810 


19495 


14340 


153 


143692 


1809 


514 


10366 


_ 


60 


4418 


- 


- 


13927 


- 


849 


_ 


_ 


_ 


_ 



b. Countries without wild populations of V. exanthematlcus. 

Afghanistan _ _ _ _ 450 

German D.R. - 100 _ _ _ 

Germany, F.R. 2 

Indonesia - 14905 _ _ _ 

Philippines - 2500 _ _ _ 

Singapore - 5454 _ _ _ 

Thailand - 2000 _ 47 _ 

Togo - _ _ 3 _ 

UK 6280 6806 - 420 10 



Country Unknown 35960 



28328 



128 



361 



187 



Varanus exanthematlcus 

COWSKRVATION MEASURES Unless otherwise stated, all of the information on 
protection is from lUCN Environmental Policy and Law Occasional Paper No. 3, 
African Wildlife Laws. 

Angola Not protected under the Hunting Regulations, 11 December 1955. 

Benin Under the Decree concerning hunting and capturing licences, bag 
limits and professional hunters, 11 February 1980, Varanidae are designated as 
small game species. They may only be hunted by the holders of traditional 
hunting rights or under hunting permits. 

Botswana The hunting of Varanus spp. is controlled under the Fauna 

Conservation (Unified Hunting) Regulations 12 March 1979, which set out the 

conditions of issue of hunting licences and the number of animals which may be 
talcen by each hunter. 

Burkina V. exanthematlcus and I', nllotlcus are partially protected 
under the Wildlife Conservation and Hunting Act, 31 December 1968, which 
establishes bag limits and close seasons, protects nests and eggs, and 
regulates the sale of meat. Commercial capture and export are controlled 
under the same Act by Decree No 68-314. Ordonnance No 68-58, December 1985, 
fixed the open season from 15 December 1985 to 28 February 1986 and stipulated 
that partially protected species could only be hunted under special permit and 
only in the province of Gourma and Tapoa. 

Burundi No information. 

Cameroon Varanus nllotlcus and Varanus grlseus (sic.) are partially 

protected under the Forests, Wildlife and Fisheries Act, 27 November 1981. 

They may only be talcen under a valid hunting licence. No more than two 
animals may be talcen in one day. 

Central African Republic The Ordinance concerning the protection of 
wildlife and regulating hunting, 27 July 1984, designates Varanus as totally 
protected. 

Chad No information. 

Congo The Act concerning the conservation and exploitation of wild fauna, 
21 April 1983, vests in the State ownership of all wild animals of economic 
value, and requires the issuing of licences for commercial capturing. A 
minimum size is set for the talcing of Varanus, and fees are set for the 
issuing of certificates of lawful possession or export of monitor lizards. 
Under a later Order (18 May 1984), Varanus fJavescens (sic.) is designated 
partially protected, and may therefore only be talcen under a hunting licence. 

Djibouti No information. 

Ethiopia Under the Wildlife Conservation (Amendment) Regulations, 12 
February 1974, Varanus nllotlcus and Varanus exanthematlcus are 
protected. They may only be hunted for scientific purposes and require a 
special permit, the value of which was set at Ethtl.OO for each Varanus. 

Gambia Under the Wildlife Conservation Act, 14 February 1977, all wildlife 
except game and vermin are protected. 

Ghana The Wildlife Conservation Regulations, 4 March 1971, define Varanus 
nllotlcus as totally protected and V. exanthematlcus as partially 
protected, for which hunting is permitted under licence during the open season. 

188 



Varanus exanthematlcus 
Guinea No information. 

Guinea-Bissau The Hunting Regulations, 12 May 1980, require the issuance of 
a licence for the capturing of live wild animals. 

Ivory Coast Varanus nllotlcus and V. exanthematlcus are listed as 
predatory animals in the Wildlife and Hunting Act, 4 August 1965, and may be 
hunted without licence anywhere except in protected areas. Arrets No. 15, 26 
December 1972, establishes licence fees for the capturing of live reptiles. 
Under the Order regulating the commercial hunting of crocodiles and monitor 
lizards, 29 September 1967, a special permit is required to capture monitor 
lizards for commercial purposes. The possession of specimens having a slcin 
width of less than 25 cm is prohibited. 

Kenya Protected by legislation in Kenya, export being banned (Legal Notice 
No. 152, 25 September 1981). 

Lesotho Varanus spp. are totally protected under the Proclamation of 
Monuments, Relics, Fauna and Flora, 1969. 

Liberia The Wildlife Conservation Regulation (in draft, 1985) lists 
V. nllotlcus as partially protected, thereby providing for closed seasons. 
Trade in and export of fully and partially protected species is prohibited 
except for educational or scientific purposes. 

Malawi Hunting, possession, trade and export of game is controlled under 
the Game Act, 1953. No reptiles, other than crocodiles, are protected. 

Mali All Varanus species are classified as game species under the Hunting 

Act, 11 November 1969. There is a general close season from 1 June to 31 

October. A general hunting ban (Decree 325/PG-RM) throughout the country was 
imposed on 6 November 1978. 

Mauritania Under the Hunting and Wildlife Protection Act, 15 January 1975, 
the capture, possession, sale and export of live wild animals requires a 
commercial capture permit. The sale of game meat is prohibited. 

Mozambique V. exanthematlcus is fully protected by national legislation. 
It occurs in Gorongosa National Parle (Mozambique CITES MA, 1986). 

Namibia Protected by the Nature Conservation Ordinance (Namibia Department 
of Agriculture and Nature Conservation, In lltt., 1987). 

Niger All hunting for utilitarian purposes has been prohibited in Niger 
since 1972 (Niger CITES MA, 1986). 

Nigeria V. nllotlcus and V. exanthematlcus are listed as fully 
protected in the Endangered Species (control of International Trade and 
Traffic) Decree, 20 April 1985. Their hunting, capture, trade and export is 
prohibited. On 28 May 1982, the CITES Secretariat sent a notification (No. 
218) to all Parties requesting them not to accept imports from Nigeria as the 
Nigerian Management Authority did not issue any export permits. 

Rwanda Varanus nllotlcus is partially protected under the Hunting 
Regulations, 31 December 1974. A licence is required for hunting and close 
seasons may be set. 

Senegal The Game and Wildlife Protection Regulations, 30 May 1967, lay down 
regulations governing the issuance of licences for hunting and commercial 
capturing of wildlife. 

189 



Varanus exanthematlcus 

Sierra Leone All species of Varanus are listed as prohibited animals in 
the Wildlife Conservation Act, No. 27, 1972. It is illegal to hunt or possess 
them. 

Somalia Varanus are listed as game animals under the Law on Fauna 
(Hunting) and Forest, 25 January 1969. They may only be hunted or exported 
under licence. A ban on all hunting was instituted on 13 October 1977. 

South Africa V. exanthematicus is legally protected in the Cape Province, 
Natal and partially in the Transvaal (McLachlan, 1978). Occurs in 14 out of 
60 reserves and resorts in Natal (South Africa CITES MA, 1987). 

Sudan V. exanthematlcus and V. nilotlcus are listed in the Ordinance 
for the Preservation of Wild Animals, 1935 (Amended 1974), as species for 
which hunting is permitted. Licences are only required if firearms are used 
for hunting. The Hides and Skins (Export) Regulations, 1969, specify a 
grading system for the export of reptile sicins. 

Swaziland Apparently no reptiles are protected in Swaziland. 

Tanzania Under the Wildlife Conservation Act, 30 June 1974, the capture of 
all live animals requires a valid capture permit, and the hunting of all 
animals requires a valid hunting permit. 

Togo V. exanthematlcus and V. nilotlcus are classified as pest species 
under the Ordinance on Wildlife Protection and Hunting, 16 January 1968. An 
enabling decree, dated 4 June 1980, sets out licence fees for hunting and 
commercial capture, but there is no bag limit for these species. 

Uganda No reptiles, other than crocodiles, are protected. 

Zaire The commercial capture of unprotected animals requires a permit under 
the Hunting Act, 28 May 1982. Export can only be authorised if the exporter 
holds a certificate of lawful possession. 

Zambia V. exanthematlcus and V. nilotlcus are listed as game animals in 
the National Parks and Wildlife Act, 3 December 1968, under which their 
hunting, possession, trade and export are controlled and fees are set for the 
export of trophies and live animals. 

Zimbabwe The collection of live reptiles and their eggs and their breeding 
in captivity are controlled under licence by the Parks and Wildlife (General) 
Regulations, 1981. 

CAPTIVE BREBDIWG A recent inventory lists 26 specimens in 16 collections in 
1984 (Slavens, 1985); breeding is recorded in Rotterdam Zoo in 1979 (Olney, 
1982) . 

REFERENCES 

Angel, M.F. (1933). Sur quelques reptiles et batraciens du nord du Soudan 

Fran^ais. Bulletin du Museum d'Hlstolre Naturelle, Paris, (ser. 2), 

5: 68-69. 
Anon. (1979). Etat actuel des pares natlonaux de la Comoe et de Tal alnsl 

que de la Reserve d'Azagny et propositions vlsant a leur conservation et a 

leur developpement aux fins de promotion du tourlsme. Tome II: Pare 

National de la Comoe. Partle 1 : Inventalre des conditions ecologlques et 

blologlques . GTZ, Eschborn. 
Arnold, E.N. (1986). A key and annotated check list to the lizards and 

amphisbaenians of Arabia. Fauna of Saudi Arabia 8:385-435. 
Auerbach, R.D. (1985). The Reptiles of Gaborone, Botswana Book Centre, 48 pp. 

190 



Vat anus exanthema ticus 

Broadley, D.G. (1971). The Reptiles and Amphibians of Zambia. The Puku 

6: 1-143. 
Chabanaud, M.P. (1917). Enumeration des reptiles non encore ^tudi^s de 

I'Afrique occidentale, appartenant aux collections du Museum, avec la 

description des especes nouvelles. Bulletin du Museum d'Hlstolre 

Naturelle. Paris 23: 83-105. 
Dunger, G.T. (1967). The Lizards and Snakes of Nigeria (Part 3: the Monitors 

and a Plated Lizard). Nigerian Field 32: 170-178. 
Flower, S.S. (1929). List of vertebrated animals exhibited in the gardens of 

the Zoological Society of London, 1828-1927, 3 Reptiles. London. 
Klaptocz, A. (1913). Reptilien, Amphibien und Fische aus Franzosisch Guinea. 

Zool . Jb. Syst. 34: 279-290. 
Laurent, R.F. (1964). A new subspecies of Varanus exanthemetlcus (Sauria, 

Varanidae). Brevlora 199: 1-5. 
Loveridge, A. (1957). Checklist of the reptiles and amphibians of East Africa 

(Uganda; Kenya: Tanganyika; Zanzibar). Bulletin of the Museum of 

Comparative Zoology, Harvard 117(2): 153-362 and i-xx + vi. 
McLachlan, G.R. (1976). South African Red Data Book - Reptiles and 

Amphibians . South African National Scientific Programmes Report No. 23. 
Manacas (1955). Saurios e ofidos de Guin6 Portuguesa. Anais de Junta de 

Investlgacoes do Ultramar (Estudlos de Zoologla) 10(4): 190-193. 
Mertens, R. (1942). Die Familie der Warane (Varanidae). Abhandlungen der 

Senckenberglschen Naturforschenden Gesellschaft 466: 235-391. 
Mertens, R. (1963). Liste der rezenten Amphibien und Reptilien. 

Helodermat idae , Varanidae, Lanthanotidae . Das Tlerreich 79. Walter de 

Gruyter, Berlin. 
Pakenham, R.H.W. (1983). The reptiles and amphibians of Zanzibar and Pemba 

Islands. Journal of the East Africa Natural History Society and National 

Museum 177: 1-40. 
Olney, P.J.S. (ed.) (1982). Reptiles bred in captivity and multiple 

generation births, 1979. International Zoo Yearbook 21. Zoological 

Society of London. 
Schmidt, K.P. (1919). Contributions to the herpetology of the Belgian Congo 

based on the collection of the American Congo Expedition 1909-1915. 

Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 39(2): 385-624. 
Simonetta, A.M. and Magnoni, M.L. (1986). Status and conservation problems of 

Somali lower vertebrates. Rlvista di Agricoltura Subtroplcale e 

Troplcale 80(3): 405-432. 
Slavens, F.L. (1985). Inventory of live reptiles and amphibians in captivity, 

current January 1, 198S . F.L. Slavens, Seattle, Washington, 341 pp. 
Teleki , G. (1980). Status report on the Wildlife Survey Project, Sierra 

Leone, conducted November 1979 through May 1980. WWF-US Project Report 

(«1728). 
Tsague, L. (1986). Contribution a l'4tude des pares nationaux et reserves 

analogues du Cameroun. MSc dissertation, D6pt. de Biologie et Physiologie 

Vegetales, Universite de Yaounde. 



191 



PACIFIC or MANGROVE MONITOR Reconmended list: 3* 

[No problem] 
Varanus Indlcus (Daudin, 1802) 

Order SAURIA Family VARANIDAE 

* The category has been changed from list 2 to 3 since approval by the CITES 
Technical Committee meeting, 1986, owing to the absence of recent trade. 

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS A moderately large monitor lizard, rather 
widespread in the western Pacific. Ranges from eastern Indonesia, east 
through New Guinea to the Solomon Islands, south to northern Australia and 
north to several island groups in Micronesia (much of the present distribution 
here is due to introduction by man, often as late as World War II). Said to 
be less common than previously in some places, but also reportedly common in 
Papua New Guinea and parts of the Solomons and Guam. Prefers semi-open areas 
to dense forest, often along the littoral and in mangroves, often in coconut 
plantations. Has been shown to feed on various pest species, such as Giant 
African Snails, and rats in coconut plantations (and has been examined as a 
possible rat control agent), but widely regarded as a pest itself due its 
habit of feeding on chickens and other human food items. 

Apparently not heavily exploited and probably not in excessive numbers in 

international trade. CITES Annual Reports show that the only substantial 

trade was 13 080 skins from Indonesia in 1980, since when trade has been 
negligible. 

Although it is unlikely that international trade at the reported levels poses 
a significant threat to the species, it would be advisable to obtain data on 
population levels and exploitation rates, particularly for Indonesia. 

DISTRIBUTION A western Pacific species, ranging from eastern Indonesia 
north-east to the Marianas and Marshall Islands, and east through New Guinea 
and northern-most Australia to the Solomon Islands. The natural range In 
Micronesia is uncertain; the species is known to have been very widely 
introduced in the region, during the German administration prior to WWl and by 
Japanese and U.S. forces around WW2 , and quite possibly at various times 
previously by the indigenous population of the region (for use as food). 
Present in the following countries, with details of distribution where 
available. Three subspecies have been recognised: I', i. splnulosus , which 
is confined to "Georges Island" in the Solomon Islands; I', i. kalabeck, 
which is confined to Waigeo Island, Indonesia; and V. i. Indlcus, which 
occupies the remainder of the range (Mertens, 19A2). 

Australia Rainforest and coastal mangroves of eastern Cape York Peninsula 
((Queensland), coastal mangroves of Arnhem Land (Northern Territory), and the 
islands of Torres Straits (Cogger, 1975; Cogger et al . , 1983). 

Federated States of Micronesia Present on Kosrae, Mortlock, Woleai , Ifalik, 
Yap (Dryden, 1965; Uchida, 1966); also found on Ulithi and several islands in 
the Truk Atoll (USA CITES MA, 1987). 

Guam Present (Dryden, 1965; Dryden and Taylor, 1969; USA CITES MA, 1987). 

Indonesia Apparently widespread in the eastern sector of the archipelago, 
including Irian Jaya and adjacent islands, north to the Talaud group and west 
to Halmahera and the Moluccas (Ambon, Buru, Seram etc.) and Timor in the 
Lesser Sundas. De Rooij (1915) includes Sulawesi within the range of this 
species but Mertens (1963) does not. 



192 



Varanus Indicus 

Mariana Islands Present on Agiguan, Rota, Tinian, Sarlgan, Saipan, (Dryden, 
1965, Uchida, 1966) and on some of the islands north of Sarigan (USA CITES MA. 
1987); no information on other islands in the group. 

Marshall Islands Introduced into Japten before WW2 (Dryden, 1965); no 
information on other islands in the group. 

Palau Present on Ngeaur (Angaur), Oreor (Koror), Babeldaob (Babelthaup) , 
Ncheangel (Kayangel) (Dryden, 1965, Uchida, 1966). 

Papua New Guinea Occurs widely throughout the main island and the island 
provinces (Whitalcer et al . , 1982). 

Solomon Islands Widespread, including the main islands of Guadalcanal, 
Isabel, Malaita, San Cristobal, (McCoy, 1980) but apparently not recorded from 
Choiseul or New Georgia. 

POPULATION A popular source (Schmidt and Inger, 1957) states that this 
species is not as abundant as it once was on Pacific islands. Published 
comments on status are given below, but no adequate population estimates 
appear to be available for any part of the species's range. 

Australia The species is said to be uncommon although there is no 
information on population size. It is encountered infrequently in the wild 
but populations are considered to be stable (Australia CITES MA, 1986). 

Federated States of Micronesia Fairly common on islands where they occur 
(USA CITES MA, 1987) . 

Guam Relatively abundant in the northern sector (Dryden and Taylor, 1969). 

Indonesia No information. 

Mariana Islands Relatively abundant on Agiguan; relatively common in 
uninhabited forested areas on Rota and Saipan; uncommon on Tinian (USA CITES 
MA. 1987). 

Marshall Islands No information. 

Papua New Guinea Reportedly the most common of the six Vatanus species in 
PNG (Whitalcer et al . , 1982) 

Solomon Islands Uncommon on most of the larger islands but can occur as 
large populations on many smaller islands, such as the Olu Halau group (McCoy. 
1980). 

HABITAT AND ECOLOC^Y An active diurnal lizard, relatively large in size, 
growing to around 1.5 m total length (50 cm body length). Olive-brown to near 
black dorsally, patterned with small evenly arranged yellow spots. Mainly 
terrestrial, but an able climber and fond of water. In northern Australia at 
least (Bustard, 1970) said to rest on trees overhanging water into which it 
dives when alarmed. Often found near the sea or in mangrove swamps; prefers 
semi-open areas to dense forest and in many places frequents coconut 
plantations . 

In the Solomons, grapsoid crabs in the littoral zone form a major part of the 
diet (McCoy. 1980); this may well be true elsewhere in the range. Also feeds 
on small lizards and snalces. small mammals, sea turtle eggs, sometimes birds 
and their eggs. A study on Guam (Dryden. 1965) showed that V. Indlcus there 
fed mainly on animals often regarded as contrary to human interests, such as 

193 



Vazanus Indlcus 

the introduced Giant African Snail Achatlna sp. , rats, shrews and hermit 
crabs. However, in Micronesia generally, Indlcus is persecuted for its 
habit of feeding on chickens, land crabs and coconut crabs, all used as human 
food (Uchida, 1966). 

The eggs (five in a captive female) are laid under decaying ground vegetation, 
or in rotting timber; hatchlings feed on insects and small scincid lizards. 

THREATS TO SURVIVAL Available information does not suggest any confirmed 
threats to the species, although data are sparse for much of the range. 
Probably affected locally by persecution, in particular for its real or 
alleged stock-raiding activities. Some Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island 
communities may use the species for food (Australia CITES MA, 1986). 



Table 1 Minimum net imports of live animals (L) and skins (S) of V. Indlcus 
reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Australia 


- 




Austria 


150 


S 


Belgium 


- 




Denmark 


2 


L 


France 


12295 


S 


Japan 


- 




Switzerland 


645 


S 


UK 


- 




USA 


2 


L 


TOTAL 


4 


L 




13080 


S 



51 S 

3014 S 
120 S 

3185 S 



2 L 



100 S 

2 L 
100 S 



4 L 



4 L 



Table 2 Reported countries of origin (or exporting country if no original 
source reported) and quantities of transactions in live animals (L) and skins 
(S) of V. Indlcus reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



a. Countries having wild populations of V. Indlcus 



Indonesia 2 L 

12590 S 
Papua New Guinea 



120 S 



4 L 



b. Countries not having wild populations of V. Indlcus 

100 S 
2 L 



Chad 
India 
Singapore 
Thailand 



645 S 3185 S 
500 S 17 S 



2 L 



194 



Varanus Indicus 

IWTKRKATIOWAL TRADE CITES Annual Reports (Tables 1 and 2) show that there 
has been very little international trade in V. indicus since 1980. In that 
year there was an export from Italy to France of 12 440 skins of Indonesian 
origin and another of 645 skins from France to Switzerland. Since then, most 
of the trade reported to have been of this species has been declared to have 
originated in Chad (Table 2), and was therefore probably misidentif ied. There 
has been a negligible trade in live animals. 

It seems unlikely that the species could be seriously affected by present 
levels of exploitation, although local populations could perhaps be so 
affected, and no population data are available for Indonesia, the source of 
the majority of specimens reported to CITES. However, the population 
information at hand does not provide an adequate basis for recommendations for 
management or for expanding trade volumes. 

CONSERVATION MEASURES 

Australia Export for commercial purposes is prohibited under the Wildlife 
Protection (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act (Australia CITES MA, 1986). 

Indonesia Protected since 1978 (Indonesia CITES MA, 1986). 

CAPTIVE BREEDING A recent inventory (Slavens. 1985) reports 10 individuals 
in four collections in 1984, with breeding in one group. 

REFERENCES 

Bustard, R. (1970). Australian Lizards. Collins, Sydney and London, 162 pp. 

Cogger, H.G. (1975). Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. A.H. and A.W. 

Reed Pty. Ltd., Sydney. 
Cogger, H.G., Cameron, E.E. and Cogger, H.M. (1983). Amphibia and Reptlla, 

Vol. 1, in: Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Bureau of Flora and Fauna, 

Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, 313 pp. 
De Rooij, N. (1915). The Reptiles of the Indo-Australlan Archipelago, 

Vol.1, Lacertilia, Chelonia, Emydosauria. E.J. Brill Ltd., Leiden. 

Reprinted 1970, A. Asher and Co. N.V. Vaals. 
Dryden, G.L. (1965). The food and feeding habits of Varanus indicus on 

Guam. Micronesia 2: 72-76. 
Dryden, G.L. and Taylor, E.H. (1969). Reptiles from the Mariana and Caroline 

Islands. Kansas University Scientific Bulletin 58(8): 269-279. 
McCoy, M. (1980). Reptiles of the Solomon Islands. Wau Ecology Institute, 

Handbook No. 7, 80 pp. 
Mertens , R. (1942). Die Familie der Warane (Varanidae). Abhandlungen der 

Senckenberglschen Naturforschenden G&sellschaft 466: 235-391. 
Mertens, R. (1963). Helodermatldae , Varanidae, Lanthanotidae . In: Das 

Tierrelch 79, Walter de Gruyter and Co., Berlin. 
Schmidt, K.P., and Inger, R.F. (1957). Living Reptiles of the Uorld. 

Doubleday and Co., Inc., N.Y., 287 pp. 
Slavens, F.L. (1985). Inventory of live reptiles and amphibians In captivity, 

current January 1, 1985. F.L. Slavens, Seattle, Washington, 341 pp. 
Uchida, T.A. (1966). Observations on the Monitor Lizard, Varanus indicus, 

(Dardin) as a rat control agent on Ifaluak, Western Caroline Islands. WHO 

Document WHO/EBL/66 . 64 . 
Whitaker, R., Whitaker, Z. and Mills, D. (1982). Reptiles of Papua New 

Guinea. Wildlife in Papua New Guinea, No. 82/2. Department of Lands and 

Environment, Konedobu, 53 pp. 



195 



NILE MONITOR 

Varanus nllotlcus (Linnaeus, 1766) 

Order SAURIA 



Recommended list: 2 
[Possible problem] 



Family VARANIDAE 



SUMMARY AWD CONCLUSIONS A large diurnal lizard, occurring virtually 
throughout sub-Saharan Africa (except the arid south-west). Has been recorded 
in: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Egypt, 
Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, 
Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, 
Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, 
Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zaire, Zambia, Zimbabwe. 
Probably present in: Burkina, Burundi, Chad, Djibouti, Rwanda, Swaziland, and 
possibly in the extreme south of Algeria. Typically found in association with 
rivers, streams, lak.es and other permanent water sources. Often common, 
especially in protected areas and areas with sparse human activity, but 
utilisation for food and skins is widespread and the latter in particular 
poses a threat to local populations. 

A substantial skin trade was reported to CITES, with an annual mean of 408 292 
between 1980 and 1985. The skins were mostly imported to Europe, especially 
France, Italy, Switzerland and F.R. Germany. Most originated in Mali, 
Nigeria, Sudan and Cameroon. Relatively small numbers of live animals were 
reported international trade, with an annual mean of 816 from 1980 to 1985. 

While the species as a whole is not threatened, exploitation appears to be a 
cause of local depletion. Field information on population status and trends 
is required to help assess the long-term sustainabili ty of the present high 
trade levels. 



DISTRIBUTION Very widespread in sub-Saharan Africa from Mauritania in the 
west, eastward through Mali, Niger and Sudan, and south almost throughout the 
continent to South Africa's Cape Province, but generally absent from desert 
areas. Penetrates north of the Sahara into Egypt down the Nile valley. Has 
been recorded in: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Central African Republic, 
Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, 
Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, 
Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra 
Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zaire, Zambia, 
Zimbabwe. Probably present in: Burkina, Burundi, Chad, Djibouti, Rwanda, 
Swaziland, and possibly in the extreme south of Algeria. 

Mertens (19A2) recognised two subspecies, V. n. nllotlcus in the larger, 
drier, part of the range, and V. n. ornatus in forest areas of West Africa, 
its distribution partly interrupted on the Guinea coast by the nominate form. 

Algeria Mertens (1942) gave a record from Adrar Mountain, which is in 
southern Algeria; however as this is an extremely arid area, it is likely that 
the term may refer to the Adrar region which extends into northern Mali along 
the edge of the Niger drainage. 

Angola Mana(pas (1955) listed localities from Angola, including Rio Quilo, 
Cabinda, Luanda, Rio Cuando, Mayumba, Duque de Bragan^a, Dondo, Rio Cuanza, 
Hanha, N'dala Tando, Golungo Alto, Kuvangu and Rio Mbal6. V. n. ornatus is 
said to occur on the Loango coast in what is now Cabinda, while the nominate 
subspecies occurs elsewhere in the country (Mertens, 1942). 



196 



VAianus nllotlcus 

Benin Recorded from Agouagon and Haut-Dahomey (Chabanaud, 1917). Mertens 
(1942) cited records of V. n. nllotlcus from Ajuda, Agouagon, and Haut 
Dahomey. 

Botswana Present along rivers and near permanent water, but absent from the 
true Kalahari (Auerbach, 1985). V. n. nllotlcus has been recorded at Maun 
and along the Chobe River (Mertens, 1942). 

Burkina No records have been located, but the species almost certainly 
occurs in the country as it is listed in the national legislation and is found 
in the surrounding countries, Mali, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Niger. 

Burundi No records from Burundi have been located, but the species almost 
certainly occurs there, because Mertens (1942) gives records of 
V. n. nllotlcus from Luvungi and Uvira in Zaire and Ujiji in Tanzania all 
less than 20 kjn from the Burundi border. 

Cameroon V. nllotlcus is said to occur in Kalamalou^, Boubandjida, 
Benoue, Faro and Douala-Ed6a protected areas (Tsague, 1986), all of which are 
located in the north of the country, except for the last, which is on the 
coast. Mertens (1942) listed many localities for V. n. ornatus . 

Central African Republic Mertens (1942) quoted a record from Avakubi in 
"Central Africa" which may represent the CAR and another from Fort Sibul in 
"French Equatorial Africa. 

Chad V. nllotlcus occurs in Kalamalou6 in northern Cameroon (Tsague, 
1986) and therefore almost certainly occurs in Lake Chad. 

Congo V. n. ornatus is widespread (Congo CITES MA, 1986), occurring at 
numerous localities, including Brazzaville and Niari (Mertens, 1942). 

Djibouti No records have been located from Djibouti but the species occurs 
in the Awash River of Ethiopia (Neumann, 1905), and may therefore extend down 
to Lake Abbe on the Djibouti border. 

Egypt V. n. nllotlcus occurs along the Nile as far north as Giza, just 
upstream of Cairo (Flower, 1933). 

Equatorial Giunea V. n. ornatus occurs on the island of Bioko and has 
been recorded on the mainland at Cap Saint-Jean (Mertens, 1942). 

Ethiopia Neumann (1905) noted the fisrt record of V. nllotlcus from the 
river-less "Hauasch" region, which probably refers to the Awash. Other 
records from Ethiopa are from the west, from the Blue Nile and the Akobo 
Rivers . 

Gabon Said to be distributed more or less uniformly throughout the country 
(Gabon, Ministere des Eaux et Forets, In lltt., 29 November 1985). 
V. n. ornatus has been recorded at numerous localities in Gabon, including 
Setto Kama, and Lambar^n4 (Mertens, 1942). 

Gambia V. n. nllotlcus occurs in Gambia, including on MacCarhty Island 
(Mertens, 1942). 

Ghana Mertens (1942) cited records of V. n. nllotlcus from the Goldcoast, 
including Abruri, Akropong, Elima and Accra. 



197 



Varanus nllotlcus 

Guinea V. n. ornatus is said to occur on the west coast of Guinea 
(Mertens, 1942). Chabanaud (1921) said the species was widespread. 

Guinea-Bissau Recorded from Brene and Bijimita, on Bissau Island; Formosa 
and Bambadinca (Kanakas, 19SS). 

Ivory Coast Recorded from Ivory Coast (Chabanaud, 1917). Occurs in Comoe 
National Park (Anon., 1979) 

Kenya Said to be present in all rivers and freshwater lakes in Kenya below 
about 5000 feet (1500 m) (A.D. Mackay, In lltt., 26 March 1986). Mertens 
(1942) listed many localities for V. n. nllotlcus. 

Lesotho The species is said to occur in the country (Lesotho Ministry of 
Agriculture and Marketing, in lltt., 23 January 1986). 

Liberia Said to occur throughout the country (Liberia CITES MA, 1986). 
Mertens (1942) cited records of V. n. nllotlcus from Monrovia, Lenga Town, 
Farmington River, Gbanga and Ganta. V. n. ornatus has been recorded at Cape 
Mount, Monrovia, Cavally River, Tala, Javillo, Mahfah River and Fisherman's 
Lake (Mertens, 1942) 

Malawi V. n. nllotlcus occurs at many places along the west shore of Lake 
Malawi (Mertens, 1942), and along the Shire River (C. Dudley, in Jitt., 14 
April 1986) . 

Mali V. n. niJoticus occurs in the Adrar Mountain Region in the north and 
at Bourem (Mertens, 1942). 

Mauritania Mertens (1942) cited Flower (1929) indicating that the 
distribution of I', n. nllotlcus extended from Mauritania eastwards, though 
no records from Mauritania were given. The species certainly occurs on the 
south bank of the Senegal River at Bakel. 

Mozambique V. nllotlcus said to be found throughout the country, having a 
wider distribution than V. exanthematlcus (Mozambique CITES MA, 1986). 
Mana^as (1955) listed localities from Mozambique, including Cabeceira, Boror, 
Quelimane, Tete, Beira, Lumbo , Caia and Charre. 

Namibia The species only occurs along the rivers bordering the north and 
south of the country, and in the Caprivi Strip. The distribution extends to 
the mouths of the rivers (Namibia Department of Agriculture and Nature 
Conservation, in Jitt., 9 March 1987). 

Niger V. niJoticiis occurs along the Niger River and around other 
permanent water courses and lakes (Niger CITES MA, 1986). 

Nigeria Associated particularly with the forests of southern Nigeria and 
the riverain forest of the savanna zone; recorded from Lagos, Umuahia, 
Claabar, Egbe, Mokwa, Makurdi, Jos, Bauchi and Malam Fatori (Dunger, 1967). 
Mertens (1942) provided records of V. n. nllotlcus from Benou^ and Lagos, 
and of V. n. ornatus at Warri, Sapelli, Calabar and the Niger Delta. 

Eiwanda No records from Rwanda have been located, but the species almost 
certainly occurs there, because Mertens (1942) gives records of 
V. n. niJoticus from Rutshuru in Zaire, less than 40 km from the Rwanda 
border. He also cites a probable record from Lake Kiwu, half of which is in 
Rwanda. 



198 



VAjranus nllotlcus 

Sao Tom6 and Principe V. n. ornacus occurs on the island of Principe 
(Mertens, 1942). 

Senegal Numerous records of V. n. nllotlcus from Senegal were quoted by 
Mertens (1942), extending up to Bakel on the Senegal River. 

Sierra Leone Present in the Outamba-Kilimi and Mamunta-Mayoso areas 
(Teleki, 1980). Mertens (1942) cited records of V. n. nllotlcus from 
Freetown and the Grand-Calbar River. 

Somalia Recorded from the Shebelle and Juba Rivers and the region of Ola 
Uager (Simonetta and Magnoni, 1986). 

South Africa In the Cape Province, the species extends along the south 
coast no further west than the Gamtoos River valley. It also extends along 
the Orange River to the Atlantic coast in the north (Branch and Braaclc, 
1987). Widespread in Natal; also present in the Transvaal, Transkei and the 
Orange Free State (Mertens, 1942). 

Sudan V. n. nllotlcus was said to occur along the Nile in the provinces 
of Haifa, Dongola, Berber and Khartoum, and up the Blue Nile as far south as 
Roseires. It was not seen on the main White Nile, but was found on the Bahr 
el Gebel and the Bahr el Zeraf as far south as Lado (Flower, 1933). 

Swaziland No records have been located, but the species almost certainly 
occurs as it is found in neighbouring parts of South Africa and Mozambique. 

Tanzania Occurs on Zanzibar Island but not on Pemba (Palcenham, 1983), also 
on Mafia Island and at numerous localities on the Mainland from the coast to 
the western border (Mertens, 1942). 

Togo V. n. ornatus occurs at several localities, including Bismarclcburg 
and Sebbe. V. 77. nllotlcus was indicated at Tabligbo, Ancho-Bezirk, Solcod6, 
Mangu, Bogu and Moba (Mertens, 1942). 

Uganda The species is widely distributed along all river systems, 
particularly those connected with the Nile, and all lakes (Uganda Game 
Department, In lltt., 28 March 1987). Mertens (1942) cited records of 
V. n. nllotlcus from Uganda, including the Sesse Islands, Entebbe, and 
Murchison Falls. 

Zaire Mertens (1942) cited records of V. n. nllotlcus from Gamangui, 
Niangara, Niapu, Ngayu, Poko, Uvira, Luvungi, Eala, Koteli, Mahagi, Faradje, 
Medje, Panga, Buta, Stanleyville, Leopoldville, Kikondja, Nyonga, Kansenia, 
Kakyelo, Lukafa, Kasenga, Kando, Kiato, Kiambi, Leopoldville, Katobwt and 
Ekibondo. V. n. ornatus appears to be confined to the more eastern regions, 
including Banana, Loango, Kituri, Katanga, Mayumb6, Upoto, Maringa (Mertens, 
1942). 

Zambia Found wherever there are permanent rivers and streams (Broadley, 
1971). Mertens (1942) cited records from the Zambezi and Luangwa rivers. 

Zimbabwe Common in and around large rivers and lakes (D.G. Broadley, In 
lltt., 18 March 1986). Mertens (1942) gave records from the Zambezi and 
Matabele Land. 



199 



Vaianus nllotlcus 

POPULATION Little information is available on population trends or current 
status. In southern Africa generally, said to be very common in and around 
large rivers and lakes, and not threatened except where exploitation for the 
skin trade is allowed (D.G. Broadley, In litt., 18 March 1986). 

Cameroon No surveys have been carried out, but the species is said not to 
be in danger of extinction (Cameroon CITES MA, 1987). 

Egypt V. nllotlcus was said to be fairly numerous in the Nile in the El 
Derr district and around Abu Simbel, becoming rarer further downstream 
(Flower, 1933). 

Gabon Said to be more numerous along the coast where human predation is 
less severe ' (Gabon Ministere des Eaux et Forets, in lltt., 29 November 1985). 

Guinea Said to be very common throughout Guinea (Chabanaud, 1921). 

Kenya Apparently still abundant at least around Lake Victoria (A.D. Mackay, 
In lltt. , 26 March 1986) . 

Malawi The species is said to be very common around Lake Malawi and in the 
Shire River (C. Dudley, In lltt., 14 April 1986). 

Mozambique I', nllotlcus said to be more abundant than V. exanthematlcus 
and to be especially common in the National Parks and Game Reserves 
(Mozambique CITES MA, 1986). 

Niger V. nllotlcus is said to be fairly common in suitable habitat (Niger 
CITES MA, 1986) . 

Nigeria Common, formerly at least, in forests of southern Nigeria and in 
the riverain forest of the savanna zone (Dunger, 1967). 

Somalia Relatively abundant in Somalia (Fagotto, 1985). 

South Africa Said to be common and widespread in Natal (South Africa CITES 
MA, 1987). 

Sudan The species was described as "not uncommon" on the main Nile in the 
north, and "really numerous" on the Blue Nile between Wad Medani and Roseires 
(Flower, 1933). 

Tanzania Common in many parts of Tanzania; apparently not widely exploited 
for food or skins (K. Howell, In lltt., 15 March 1986). Not uncommon on 
Zanzibar Island (Pakenham, 1983). 

Uganda The species is said to be widespread, but particularly abundant in 
the Bugosa and Buganda areas (Uganda Game Department, In lltt., 28 March 
1987). 

Zambia Good populations occur in Zambia (Broadley, 1971). 

Zimbabwe Very common in and around large rivers and lakes (D.G. Broadley, 
in lltt. , 18 March 1986) . 

HABITAT AND ECOLOGY A large diurnal lizard, reaching up to 2 m in length. 
Found only in association with permanent rivers, streams and lakes, and thus 
absent from many arid regions. Occupies a variety of holes and crevices as a 
burrow, usually on abandoned site of some other animal. Excellent swimmers; 
will dive into water if alarmed. Diet includes a variety of small vertebrates 

200 



Varanas nllotlcus 

and eggs (a noted consumer of crocodile eggs), also crabs and mussels and 
readily scavenges food remains, such as fish guts and chiclcen bones, from the 
vicinity of human habitation (Edroma and Ssali, 1983). The female often lays 
the clutch of 40-60 eggs, ca 58 x 35 mm, in a live termite nest where the 
termites maintain a thermally stable environment (Cowles, 1930; Branch and 
Erasmus, 1982) 

THREATS TO SURVIVAL Widely used, apparently throughout the continent, for 
food and skins. In Nigeria, for example, numerous dried lizards can be seen 
in Ibadan market, and shoes and handbags made from monitor lizard skin can be 
obtained anywhere in the country (Butler and Shitu, 1985). The skin trade 
poses a threat to some local populations (D.G. Broadley, in lltt., 18 March 
1986). 

Caneroon Skins are supplied to the commercial trade from the north and 
extreme north of the country (Cameroon CITES MA, 1987). 

Congo V. nllotlcus is expoited for its skin and meat (Congo CITES MA, 
1986). 

Gabon The people of the coast apparently do not eat monitors, but those of 
the interior are particularly fond of it, and may have depleted the 
populations. Internal trade in skins is said to be negligible, and there is 
not thought to have been any export in 1984 and 1985 (Gabon Ministere des Eaux 
et Forets, In lltC, 29 November 1985). 

Kenya Often trapped as vermin around Lake Victoria due to poultry and egg 
eating, though this seems not to have an adverse effect on the local 
population (A.D. Mackay, in iitt., 26 March 1986). 

Mozambique There is said to be some human predation (Mozambique CITES MA, 
1986), but its effects have not been assessed. 

Namibia The species is not particularly threatened, and there is said to be 
no commercial exploitation (Namibia Department of Agriculture and Nature 
Conservation, in iitt., 9 March 1987). 

Tanzania Not threatened. There is not thought to be much skin trade and 
few people eat monitors (K. Howell, in iitt., 15 March 1986). 

Uganda The skins are used by the Bantu tribes to cover their long, 
cylindrical drums and substantial quantities are thought to be used each 
year. There are no known authorised exports of live animals and few skins. 
50 were exported in 1981, and a shipment of 176 skins bound for Lebanon was 
intercepted at Entebbe airport in 1986 (Uganda Game Department, in iitt., 28 
March 1987). 

IWTERNATIONAL TRADE While relatively small numbers of live animals (mostly 
from Kenya, Nigeria and Togo) are in reported international trade, between 169 
and 1392 from 1980 to 1985, with an annual mean of 816, very large numbers of 
skins are traded, between 183 830 and 634 639 from 1980 to 1985, with an 
annual mean of 408 292. Most live animals were destined for the USA, with 
lesser numbers to F.R. Germany and other parts of Europe. 

The skin trade reported to CITES is summarised in Tables 1 and 2. The skins 
were mostly imported to Europe, especially France, Italy, Switzerland and F.R. 
Germany. It should be noted that France did not report imports of Appendix II 
material before 1984, and so the totals in Table 1 from 1980 to 1983 are 
artificially low. Most of the skin originated in Mali, Nigeria, Sudan and 
Cameroon. 

201 



Varanus nlloticus 

Table 1 Apparent minimum net imports of skins of Varanus nlloticus reported 
to CITES. 





1980 


1981 


1982 


1983 


1984 


1985 


Australia 


126 




340 


4917 






Austria 


7478 


6008 


29918 


14272 


3749 


1071 


Belgium 


735 


54 


415 


5745 


30000 


_ 


Canada 


79 


1609 


- 


4 


2 


10 


Cyprus 


1474 


- 


- 


_ 


_ 


_ 


Denmark 


39 


60 


_ 


_ 


_ 


_ 


Egypt 


- 


- 


- 


• 


- 


4 


Finland 


- 


- 


379 


- 


- 


3 


France 


- 


- 


_ 


_ 


82653 


274829 


Germany, F.R. 


1592 


8478 


22595 


13440 


906 


546 


Greece 


- 


132 


- 


50 


_ 


_ 


Hong Kong 


18 


- 


1220 


103 


8 


_ 


Italy 


412046 


464528 


123355 


129216 


130341 


52342 


Japan 


381 


773 


- 


- 


_ 


30 


Kenya 


- 


- 


- 


- 


_ 


2 


Korea 


_ 


- 


_ 


_ 


100 


_ 


Kuwait 


- 


_ 


- 


_ 


1 


_ 


Lebanon 


- 


- 


20 


179 


_ 


_ 


Macao 


- 


_ 


_ 


_ 


_ 


1 


Malaysia 


- 


- 


- 


- 


396 


- 


Mexico 


6000 


1379 


_ 


- 


_ 


_ 


Netherlands 


_ 


10 


_ 


_ 


_ 


_ 


New Zealand 


- 


_ 


_ 


90 


_ 


_ 


Portugal 


- 


1033 


_ 


_ 


_ 


. 


Saudi Arabia 


- 


_ 


_ 


78 


8 


_ 


South Africa 


- 


- 


109 


120 


_ 


37 


Singapore 


- 


- 


- 


_ 


_ 


8 


Spain 


2135 


- 


_ 


_ 


_ 


_ 


Sweden 


- 


_ 


_ 


_ 


_ 


8 


Switzerland 


88736 


- 


52630 


61359 


75144 


60870 


Togo 


- 


- 


- 


- 


_ 


3 


Turkey 


- 


- 


— 


_ 


100 


72 


UAE 


9 




- 


_ 


_ 


1 


UK 


- 


- 


- 


2420 


_ 


53 


USA 


113791 


58522 


33553 


20117 


3678 


5124 


USSR 


- 


- 


_ 


. 


_ 


2 


Uruguay 


- 


- 


930 


200 


_ 


_ 


Yugoslavia 


- 


- 


- 


_ 


^ 


204 


Country Unknown 


2 


71305 


- 


- 


30000 


Total 


634639 


542588 


336390 


183830 


327086 


425216 



202 



Vat anus nllotlcus 

Table 2 Reported countries of origin (or exporting country if no original 
source reported) and quantities of transactions in slcins of V. nllotlcus 
reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



a. Countries with populations of V. nllotlcus. 



Africa 


12 


_ 


440 


_ 


_ 


_ 


Benin 


- 


- 


- 


_ 


- 


6950 


Cameroon 


17515 


21175 


41505 


2400 


25508 


67276 


Chad 


7500 


111 


4574 


12214 


6008 


- 


Egypt 


- 


2182 


- 


- 


- 


- 


Kenya 


- 


75 


- 


- 


- 


- 


Mali 


89005 


53771 


80334 


43556 


63013 


192213 


Nigeria 


367522 


174773 


82913 


51979 


52640 


38779 


South Africa 


5578 


3938 


1 


- 


2 


1 


Sudan 


4^(479 


311302 


126704 


153502 


190751 


131461 


Zimbabwe 


_ 


1 


9 


170 


529 


304 



b. Countries without populations of V. nllotlcus. 



China 


- 


France 


1390 


Indonesia 


1200 


Italy 


967 


Madagascar 


2829 


Netherlands 


40 


Papua New Gu 


inea 


Paraguay 


- 


Philippines 


- 


Spain 


- 


Switzerland 


1 


Thailand 


- 


UK 


- 


Unknown 


205500 



2185 



1350 



13270 
11539 



119 



94970 



1871 



85885 



3565 



344 



4 


- 


- 


- 


900 


- 


249 


995 


- 


200 


_ 


2000 


4 


_ 


140 



2131 



5390 



COWSBRVATION MEASURES Unless otherwise stated, all of the information on 
protection is from lUCN Environmental Policy and Law Occasional Paper No. 3, 
African Wildlife Laws. 

Angola Not protected under the Hunting Regulations, 11 December 1955. 

Benin Under the Decree concerning hunting and capturing licences, bag 
limits and professional hunters, 11 February 1980, Varanidae are designated as 
small game species. They may only be hunted by the holders of traditional 
hunting rights or under hunting permits. 

Botswana The hunting of Varanus spp. is controlled under the Fauna 

Conservation (Unified Hunting) Regulations 12 March 1979, which set out the 

conditions of issue of hunting licences and the number of animals which may be 
taken by each hunter. 



203 



VAzanus nllotlcus 

Burkina V. exanthema ticus and V. nllotlcus are partially protected 
under the Wildlife Conservation and Hunting Act, 31 December 1968, which 
establishes bag limits and close seasons, protects nests and eggs, and 
regulates the sale of meat. Commercial capture and export are controlled 
under the same Act by Decree No 68-314. Ordonnance No 68-58, December 1985, 
fixed the open season from 15 December 1985 to 28 February 1986 and stipulated 
that partially protected species could only be hunted under special permit and 
only in the province of Gourma and Tapoa. 

Burundi No information. 

Cameroon Varanus nllotlcus and Varanus grlseus (sic.) are partially 

protected under the Forests, Wildlife and Fisheries Act, 27 November 1981. 

They may only be taken under a valid hunting licence. No more than two 
animals may be taken in one day. 

Central African Republic The Ordinance concerning the protection of 
wildlife and regulating hunting, 27 July 1984, designates Varanus as totally 
protected. 

Chad No information. 

Congo The Act concerning the conservation and exploitation of wild fauna, 
21 April 1983, vests in the State ownership of all wild animals of economic 
value, and requires the issuing of licences for commercial capturing. A 
minimum size is set for the taking of Varanus, and fees are set for the 
issuing of certificates of lawful possession or export of monitor lizards. 
Under a later Order (18 May 1984), Varanus flavescens (sic.) is designated 
partially protected, and may therefore only be taken under a hunting licence. 

Djibouti No information. 

Egypt All hunting is prohibited in certain regions. 

Equatorial Guinea The Hunting Regulations, 29 April 1953, establish the 
need to obtain hunting licences except for subsistence hunters. Reptiles are 
not protected. 

Ethiopia Under the Wildlife Conservation (Amendment) Regulations, 12 

February 1974, Varanus nllotlcus is protected. They may only be hunted for 

scientific purposes and require a special permit, the value of which was set 
at Eth$1.00 for each Varanus. 

Gabon The Wildlife and Forests Act, 22 July 1982 requires the issuing of 
licences for the commercial capture of all wildlife. Traditional hunting for 
subsistence pruposes is permitted. 

Gambia Under the Wildlife Conservation Act, 14 February 1977, all wildlife 
except game and vermin are protected. 

Ghana The Wildlife Conservation Regulations, 4 March 1971, define Varanus 
nllotlcus as totally protected. 

Guinea No information. 

Guinea-Bissau The Hunting Regulations, 12 May 1980, require the issuance of 
a licence for the capturing of live wild animals. 



204 



Varanus nilotlcus 

Ivory Coast Varanus nilotlcus, V. exanthematlcus is listed as predatory 
animals in the Wildlife and Hunting Act, 4 August 1965, and may be hunted 
without licence anywhere except in protected areas. Arrete No. 15, 26 
December 1972, establishes licence fees for the capturing of live reptiles. 
Under the Order regulating the commercial hunting of crocodiles and monitor 
lizards, 29 September 1967, a special permit is required to capture monitor 
lizards for commercial purposes. The possession of specimens having a slcin 
width of less than 25 cm is prohibited. 

Kenya Protected by legislation in Kenya, export being banned (Legal Notice 
No. 152, 25 September 1981). 

Lesotho Varanus spp. are totally protected under the Proclamation of 
Monuments, Relics, Fauna and Flora, 1969. 

Liberia The Wildlife Conservation Regulation (in draft, 1985) lists 
V. nilotlcus as partially protected, thereby providing for closed seasons. 
Trade in and export of fully and partially protected species is prohibited 
except for educational or scientific purposes. 

Malawi Hunting, possession, trade and export of game is controlled under 
the Game Act, 1953. No reptiles, other than crocodiles, are protected. 

Mali All Varanus species are classified as game species under the Hunting 

Act, 11 November 1969. There is a general close season from 1 June to 31 

October. A general hunting ban (Decree 325/PG-RM) throughout the country was 
imposed on 6 November 1978. 

Mauritania Under the Hunting and Wildlife Protection Act, 15 January 1975, 
the capture, possession, sale and export of live wild animals requires a 
commercial capture permit. The sale of game meat is prohibited. 

Mozambique V. exanthematlcus is fully protected by national legislation. 
It occurs in Gorongosa National Park (Mozambique CITES MA, 1986). 

Namibia Protected by the Nature Conservation Ordinance (Namibia Department 
of Agriculture and Nature Conservation, In lltt., 3 March 1987). 

Niger All hunting for utilitarian purposes has been prohibited in Niger 
since 1972 (Niger CITES MA, 1986). 

Nigeria V. nilotlcus, and V. exanthematlcus are listed as fully 
protected in the Endangered Species (control of International Trade and 
Traffic) Decree, 20 April 1985. Their hunting, capture, trade and export is 
prohibited. On 28 May 1982, the CITES Secretariat sent a notification (No. 
218) to all Parties requesting them not to accept imports from Nigeria as the 
Nigerian Management Authority did not issue any export permits. 

Rwanda Varanus nilotlcus is partially protected under the Hunting 
Regulations, 31 December 1974. A licence is required for hunting and close 
seasons may be set. 

Sao Tom4 and Principe No information. 

Senegal The Game and Wildlife Protection Regulations, 30 May 1967, lay down 
regulations governing the issuance of licences for hunting and commercial 
capturing of wildlife. 

Sierra Leone All Varanus are listed as prohibited animals in the Wildlife 
Conservation Act, No. 27, 1972. It is illegal to hunt or possess them. 

205 



VAranus nllotlcus 

Somalia Varanus are listed as game animals under the Law on Fauna 
(Hunting) and Forest, 25 January 1969. They may only be hunted or exported 
under licence. A ban on all hunting was instituted on 13 October 1977. 

South Africa V. nllotlcus is partially protected in the Transvaal and may 

not be captured or kept except under permit. They are protected by ordinance 

in the Cape Province and occur in at least 58 of the 60 protected areas in 
Natal (South Africa CITES MA, 1987). 

Sudan V. exanthematlcus and V. nllotlcus are listed in the Ordinance 
for the Preservation of Wild Animals, 1935 (Amended 1974), as species for 
which hunting is permitted. Licences are only required if firearms are used 
for hunting. The Hides and Skins (Export) Regulations, 1969, specify a 
grading system for the export of reptile skihs. 

Swaziland Apparently no reptiles are protected in Swaziland. 

Tanzania Under the Wildlife Conservation Act, 30 June 1974, the capture of 
all live animals requires a valid capture permit, and the hunting of all 
animals requires a valid hunting permit. 

Togo V. exanthematlcus and V. nllotlcus are classified as pest species 
under the Ordinance on Wildlife Protection and Hunting, 16 January 1968. An 
enabling decree, dated 4 June 1980, sets out licence fees for hunting and 
commercial capture, but there is no bag limit for these species. 

Uganda No reptiles, other than crocodiles, are protected. 

Zaire The commercial capture of unprotected animals requires a permit under 
the Hunting Act, 28 May 1982. Export can only be authorised if the exporter 
holds a certificate of lawful possession. 

Zambia V. exanthematlcus and V. nllotlcus are listed as game animals in 
the National Parks and Wildlife Act, 3 December 1968, under which their 
hunting, possession, trade and export are controlled and fees are set for the 
export of trophies and live animals. 

Zimbabwe The collection of live reptiles and their eggs and their breeding 
in captivity are controlled under licence by the Parks and Wildlife (General) 
Regulations, 1981. 

CAPTIVE BREEDING A recent inventory lists 15 specimens in 9 collections, 
but lists no captive breeding (Slavens, 1985). Breeding took place In the 
Transvaal Snake Park in 1986, 33 being produced from a single clutch (South 
Africa CITES MA, 1987). 

REFERENCES 

Anon. (1979). Etat actuel des pares natlonaux de la Comoe et de Tal alnsl 

que de la Reserve d'Azagny et propositions vlsant a leur conservation et a 

leur developpement aux fins de promotion du tourlsme. Tome II: Pare 

National de la Comoe. Partle 1 : Inventalre des conditions ecologlques et 

blologlques. GTZ, Eschborn. 
Auerbach, R.D. (1985). The Reptiles of Gaborone. Botswana Book Centre. 
Branch, W.R. and Braack, H.H. (1987). Reptiles and amphibians of the Addo 

Elephant National Park. Koedoe 30: 61-111. 
Branch, W.R., and Erasmus, H. (1982). Notes on reproduction in South African 

Water Monitors Varanus nllotlcus nllotlcus (Saurla: Varanldae). 

Journal of the Herpetologlcal Association of Africa 28: 4-9. 
Broadley, D.G. (1971). The Reptiles and Amphibians of Zambia. The Puku 

6: 1-143. 

206 



Vat anus nllotlcus 

Butler, L.A. , and Shitu, E. (1985). Uses of some reptiles by the Yoruba 

people of Nigeria. Herpetologlcal Review 16(1): 15-16. 
Chabanaud, M.P. (1917). Enumeration des reptiles non encore ^tudi^s de 

I'Afrique occidentale, appartenant aux collections du Museum, avec la 

description des especes nouvelles. Bulletin du Museum d'Hlstolre 

Naturelle, Pazls, 23: 83-105. 
Chabanaud, P. (1921). Contribution a I'^tude de la faune herpetologique de 

I'Afrique Occidentale Bull. Com. Etudes Hist. Scl . Occ . franc. 445-472. 
Cowles, R.B. (1930). The life history of Varanus nllotlcus Linnaeus as 

observed in Natal, South Africa. Journal of Entomological Zoology 

22: 1-31. 
Dunger, G.T. (1967). The Lizards and Snakes of Nigeria (Part 3: the Monitors 

and a Plated Lizard). Nigerian Field 32: 170-178. 
Edroma, E.L. , and Ssali, W. (1983). Observations on the Nile Monitor lizard 

(Varanus nllotlcus, L.) in Queen Elisabeth National Park., Uganda. 

African Journal of Ecology 21: 197-201. 
Fagotto, F. (1985). Larger animals of Somalia in 1984, Enlvlronmental 

Conservation 12: 260-264. 
Flower, S.S. (1929). List of vertebrated animals exhibited In the gardens of 

the Zoological Society of London, 1828-1927 , 3 Reptiles. London. 
Flower, S.S. (1933). The recent reptiles and amphibians of Egypt, with a list 

of the species recorded from that Kingdom. Proceedings of the Zoological 

Society of London 1933: 735-851. 
Manacas (1955). Saurios e ofidos de Guin4 Portuguesa. Anals de Junta de 

Investlgacoes do Ultramar (Estudlos de Zoologla) 10(4): 190-193. 
Mertens, R. (1942). Die Familie der Warane (Varanidae) . Abhandlungen der 

Senckenberglschen Naturforschenden Gesellschaft 466: 235-391. 
Mertens, R. (1963). Liste der rezenten Amphibien und Reptilien. 

Helodermatidae, Varanidae, Lanthanotidae. Das Tlerrelch 79: 1-29. 

Walter de Gruyter, Berlin. 
Neumann, 0. (1905). Uber nordost-af rikanische und arabische Kriechtiere. 

Zool. Jahrb. Syst. 22: 389-404. 
Pakenham, R.H.W. (1983). The reptiles and amphibians of Zanzibar and Pemba 

Islands. Journal of the Bast Africa Natural History Society and National 

Museum 177: 1-40. 
Simonetta, A.M. and Magnoni, M.L. (1986). Status and conservation problems of 

Somali lower vertebrates. Rlvlsta dl Agrlcoltura Subtroplcale e 

Troplcale 80(3): 405-432. 
Slavens, F.L. (1985). Inventory of live reptiles and amphibians In 

captivity , current January 1, 1985. F.L. Slavens, Seattle, Washington. 
Teleki , G. (1980). Status report on the Wildlife Survey Project, Sierra 

Leone, conducted November 1979 through May 1980. WWF-US Project Report 

(#1728). 
Tsague, L. (1986). Contribution a I'^tude des pares nationaux et reserves 

analogues du Cameroun. MSc dissertation, D6pt . de Biologie et Physiologie 

Vegetales, Universite de Yaounde. 



207 



WATER MONITOR 

VAranus SAlvator (Laurenti, 1768) 

Order SAURIA 



Recommended list: 2 
[Possible problem] 



Family VARANIDAE 



SUMMARY AND COKCLUSIOWS A potentially very large monitor lizard, widespread 
in South and Southeast Asia, from Sri Lanlca east to southern China and the 
Philippines, and south through mainland Southeast Asia to Indonesia. 
Typically associated with water and thus frequently found alongside forest 
waterways but also occurs in rice fields and coastal mangroves. Eggs, 6 to 30 
in number, are often laid in live termite mounds. In the early twentieth 
century generally said to be common or very common; although now reportedly 
depleted or extirpated locally, the species appears to remain relatively 
common over much of its range. Populations are affected by habitat loss, 
although utilisation appears to be a more important factor. 

Lizards and eggs are widely, but not universally, utilised for food and 
medicinal purposes. Moderate numbers of live animals (around 1000-4500 
annually from 1980 to 1985) are in international trade, but very large numbers 
of skins are traded, with over a million in 1985. 

Field information on population status and trends is required to help assess 
the long-term sustainabili ty of the present high trade levels. 

DISTRIBUTION A widespread south and South East Asian species, ranging from 
Sri Lanlca and parts of India, eastward to southern China and the Philippines, 
and south-east through the Malay Peninsula to Indonesia. Present in the 
following countries, with details of distribution in each, if available. 

Bangladesh Occurs in the Sunderbans and extends east and south to the 
border with Burma, near St. Martin's Island (Khan, 1982). 

Brunei Presumed present, no records located. 

Burma Present, at least formerly, in suitable sites throughout the country 
(Smith, 1930). 

China Present in the south only, in Yunnan, Kwangtung, Kwangshi and Hainan 
(Anon. , 1977) . 

Hong Kong Despite being present in southern China, the Water Monitor was 
apparently unknown in Hong Kong until four specimens were reported at 
different times in 1961 (Romer, 1963); no further sightings have been reported 
since, and the species probably no longer occurs there (UK (Hong Kong) CITES 
MA, 1987). 

India Restricted in distribution. Absent from the peninsula except for the 
200 sq. km Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary (an island in the 
Mahanadi-Baitarani delta) in Orissa, and coastal parts of West Bengal 
(Sunderbans), also recorded (Smith, 1935) in extreme north-east India up to 
6000 ft (1800 m) . Present in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Biswas & Kar, 
1981; Whitaker and Whitaker, 1980). 

Indonesia Widespread, including Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, with adjacent 
smaller islands; seemingly more sporadic in the east, but extends to Sulawesi, 
Halmahera and Obi, and also Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa and Flores (Mertens, 1963). 

Kampuchea No data. 



208 



Varanus salvator 

Laos Occurs along the Melcong River valley, which extends the length of the 
country in the west (Laos Wildlife Conservation and Fishery Office, in 
lltt., 31 January 1986). 

Malaysia Few details available; in Sabah reportedly widespread at lower 
altitudes wherever water is available (Malaysia (Sabah) CITES MA, 1985), also 
widespread in Peninsular Malaysia (G. Davison, in iitt., 22 February 1986) 
and in Sarawak (H. Watson, in lltt., 17 March 1986). 

Philippines Widespread, including the larger islands of Luzon and Mindanao, 
also Leyte, Cebu, possibly Samar, and probably numerous smaller islands 
(Mertens, 1963). 

Singapore Has been recorded (Ridley, 1899), no details available. 

Sri Lanka Widespread, although seemingly absent from the east and 
south-east coastal areas (Whita)cer and Whitaker, 1980). 

Thailand Occurs throughout the country, typically along rivers and streams 
(Taylor, 1963; Lekagul , 1969). 

Viet Nam No data. 

POPULATION Despite, or perhaps because of, the wide distribution and 
sometime abundance of this species there is virtually no detailed population 
information presently available (W. Auffenberg has results of fieldwork. in 
preparation). The sole exception relates to Floros (Lesser Sundas, Indonesia) 
where Auffenberg (1981; 1982) has recorded an estimated 15 individuals per km 
of river bank (the Nanga Look), and 8 per km of coastal mangrove (see below 
for note on habitat tolerance). Population density can thus be rather high 
locally. Older literature sources typically remark on the wide distribution 
and abundance of the Water Monitor, eg. "very numerous in suitable localities 
throughout the Malay Peninsula and Siam" (Flower, 1896). However, although 
the present situation seems to be unknown in detail, the species is now 
reportedly reduced in density, or extirpated, in many places where it was 
common in the early 1970s (Auffenberg, 1982; in lltt., 1 March 1984). 
Comments on general status, often anecdotal in nature, are given below where 
available . 

Bangladesh Common (Khan, 1982); common in coastal districts (Bangladesh 
CITES MA, 1986). 

Burma A 1930 source (Smith) states that the species is "quite plentiful" in 
Burma in suitable localities. Often encountered on islands of the Mergui 
Archipelago, also reported particularly plentiful around Mandalay where the 
lizards live in canals and irrigation channels. Lizards of 1.8 m (6 ft) or 
more in length were "frequently seen dashing across the Handalay-Maymyo main 
road in front of motors" (Smith, 1930). No recent data on status are 
available (Salter, 1983). 

China Reported rare in e 1922 source (Mell, cited by Smith, 1935), and said 
to be apparently rare (Romer, 1963); no recent data available. 

Hong Kong Probably no longer occurs in Hong Kong (UK (Hong Kong) CITES MA, 
1987). 

India Uncommon within Bhitarkanika, where the population is restricted to 
the Wildlife Sanctury. Said to be reduced to remnants of former abundance in 
the Sunderbans (Whitaker and Whitaker, 1980). Fairly common before WW II in 
the Garo Hills of Assam (Parry, 1935). Population levels in the Andamans and 

209 



VAzanus salvator 

Nicobars seem to be good away from human settlements, and in the Jarawa Tribal 
Reserve, parts of Little Andaman and the southern islands of the Nicobar group 
are "still intact and close to original in composition" (Whitalcer and 
Whitalcer, 1980). Officially considered severely depleted and given Endangered 
status (Tilcader, 1983). 

Indonesia Cited as very common by a 1915 source (De Rooij); no recent data 
other than Auf fenberg' s , cited above. 

Kampuchea Said to be common in the early twentieth century (Smith, 1935), 
no recent data. 

Laos Believed to be declining due to habitat loss and exploitation for food 
(Laos Wildlife Conservation and Fishery Office, in lltt., 31 January 1986). 

Malaysia Said to be still quite common and readily seen (B.H. Kiew, in 
iitt., 25 February 1986) in Peninsular Malaysia, or still very common but 
declining rapidly (S. Ambu , in iitt., 17 February 1986). However, although 
the species is not unusually seen along larger rivers here, assessing its 
abundance is difficult, one factor being to distinguish salvator from other 
Malaysian Varanus (G. Davison, In lltt., 22 February 1986). The call 
(Khan, 1969) for improved management and legislation implies that exploitation 
has adversely affected population levels. 

Said to be abundant in suitable habitat (which is very widespread) in Sabah 
(Malaysia (Sabah) CITES HA, 1985) and widespread and common in Sarawak., even 
in areas with high human populations, such as the suburbs of Kuching (H. 
Watson, in iitt., 17 March 1986). However, also reportedly seen 
infrequently in primary rainforest in Sarawak., where during 65A days of 
herpetological sampling at three sites, a total of only six salvator were 
recorded (R.F. Inger, in lltt., 5 March 1986). 

Philippines No information. 

Singapore No information. 

Sri Lanka Apparently still a stronghold for the species in South Asia; 
Water Monitors are abundant and commonly seen scavenging in village rubbish or 
swimming in streams despite the presence of people washing clothes or bathing 
(Whitaker and Whitaker, 1980). This is attributed to the fact that the 
species is little persecuted or exploited in the country. 

Thailand Reportedly common along rivers and streams, also often encountered 

in deep forest far from water (Lekagul, 1969). Seen fairly often in Khao Yai 

National Park; perhaps not markedly threatened in Thailand (W.Y. Brockelman, 
in iitt., 14 February 1986). 

Viet Nam Said at one time to be common in extreme south Viet Nam ('Cochin 
China') (Smith, 1935). No recent data. 

HABITAT AND ECOLOGY A large diurnal, carnivorous, terrestrial-aquatic 
monitor lizard, capable of attaining about 2.5 m total length. In Burma, most 
frequently seen near streams in remote evergreen forests, including on islands 
(Smith, 1930). Here, and apparently throughout the range, the presence of 
permanent surface water is the primary factor determining the occurrence of 
V. salvator (Auffenberg, 1981; 1982). For example, the banks of the river 
Nanga Look (Flores, Lesser Sundas) bear coastal mangrove swamp, dense gallery 
forest, savanna, and agricultural land, at various points along its course, 
but the species ranges through all riverine habitats regardless of vegetation 
structure, and also occurs in areas of rice cultivation away from the river. 

210 



I 



VAianus salvator 

Individuals rarely move away from water and are most frequently observed 
swimming in the river, basking on its banks, or foraging along a narrow linear 
strip parallel to the river, its width dependent on the adjacent vegetation 
(up to 50 m in dense forest but only a few metres in open areas). However, 
the lizards may move 0.5 km or more inland in the monsoons (Auffenberg, 1981) 
and Smith (1930) records a large female being found in a new rain pool in a 
remote and very dry forest area of Burma. The core areas of each adult's 
active range are typically 500 ro apart (Auffenberg, 1981). 

Feeding is largely opportunistic. The diet is varied, larger individuals tend 
to take larger prey. Food items include crabs, fishes, frogs, birds, small 
mammals, eggs and all manner of carrion, also domestic chickens. 

In monsoon areas, nesting coincides with the start of the rains, in June in 
India (Whitaker and Khan, 1982) and Thailand (Smith, 1935) for example. In 
India at least, nest sites are located above the high watermark and often in 
live termite mounds (Whitaker and Khan; Biswas and Kar, 1982); elsewhere 
(Burma; Smith, 1930) nest sites are reported in holes in trees near or 
overlying water. Eggs are about 40 x 70 mm; around 15-30 (Smith, 1935) or 
6-20 (Biswas and Kar, 1981) in a clutch. Hatchlings from eggs laid in June 
emerge in March-April, after about 260 days incubation, and are around 
30-32 cm in length. In one captive breeding group, both sexes were 1.4-1.5 m 
in length. 

THREATS TO SURVIVAL Widely exploited for skins, meat and fat (for medicinal 
purposes); semi-developed eggs in gravid females are considered a delicacy and 
body fat is either consumed, to improve general vigour, or applied, for muscle 
and joint pains (Whitaker and Whitaker, 1980). 

India In India, also affected by loss of mangrove habitat to farming, and 
by timber and firewood extraction; these are likely to be significant in other 
parts of the range although no details are available. Hunting with dogs is a 
particular threat in the Andamans and Nicobars; 30 monitors were seen to be 
collected this way in one month (Whitaker and Whitaker, 1980). 

Laos Adversely affected by habitat loss and disturbance, also exploited for 
food, in Laos (Laos Wildlife Conservation and Fishery Office, In lltt., 31 
January 1986) . 

Malaysia Said to be little exploited in Sabah, and not exported (Malaysia 
(Sabah) CITES HA, 1985). In Sarawak, hunting of this species is generally for 
personal food use, not for the commercial skin trade (H. Watson, In lltt., 
17 March 1986). Said to be only moderately exploited, for food and leather, 
in West Malaysia (B.H. Kiew, In lltt., 25 February 1986). 

Philippines A permit for the hunting of 19 796 head of V. salvator was 
granted retrospectively in 1981 to allow the sale of stockpiled skins 
(Philippines CITES MA, 1981). 

Sri Lanka Water Monitor flesh is believed poisonous in Sri Lanka and this 
seems to be one reason why it is little persecuted. 

IMTERNATIOWAL TRADE CITES Annual Reports show that there is a substantial 
international trade in the skins of V. salvator, varying from 256 683 in 
1980 to 1 152 532 in 1985 (Table 1). The main importing countries have been 
the USA, France, Italy, Austria and Japan. Until 198A, France did not report 
the imports of Appendix II species, and so it is possible that the totals for 
earlier years are artificially low. The reported source countries (Table 2) 
were Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore. As the 
latter country is not thought to have a substantial wild population of 

211 



Vazanus salvator 

Table 1 Minimum net imports of skins of V. salvator reported to CITES. The 
few transactions reported in terms of weight, length or area are not listed. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1986 



1985 



Argentina 




250 










Austria 


1589 


- 


9849 


18832 


53322 


72533 


Australia 


3159 


- 


16 


2124 


- 


- 


Belgium 


_ 


_ 


1181 


- 


- 


- 


Brazil 


- 


- 


- 


- 


- 


32921 


Canada 


13651 


1783 


1004 . 


14604 


37617 


108979 


Denmark 


654 


17931 


92 


- 


171 


- 


Egypt 


- 


- 


1176 


- 


- 


- 


Finland 


- 


- 


151 


- 


- 


- 


France 


_ 


_ 


- 


- 


188472 


285685 


Gambia 


- 


- 


- 


- 


8125 


- 


Germany, F.R. 


3864 


- 


19480 


14857 


17649 


16606 


Greece 


- 


_ 


40 


- 


- 


213 


Hong Kong 


17279 


- 


22133 


31733 


33675 


26211 


Hungary 


- 


- 


- 


200 


- 


- 


Ireland 


- 


- 


2 


- 


- 


- 


Italy 


9203 


37958 


75344 


71863 


133349 


121659 


Japan 


85438 


- 


- 


- 


- 


340411 


Korea, S. 


- 


- 


- 


9607 


29172 


21797 


Lebanon 


70 


- 


- 


- 


- 


- 


Mexico 


- 


- 


- 


- 


- 


177 


Netherlands 


- 


5058 


- 


- 


362 


1224 


New Zealand 


- 


- 


82 


43 


83 


- 


Norway 


20 


- 


- 


- 


- 


- 


Panama 


1 


- 


- 


- 


- 


- 


Singapore 


- 


- 


- 


203934 


- 


- 


South Africa 


108 


10 


- 


112 


_ 


- 


Spain 


- 


- 


- 


726 


10056 


- 


Sweden 


141 


- 


160 


- 


55 


- 


Switzerland 


6750 


_ 


6372 


10222 


8604 


27329 


Turkey 


- 


- 


20 


83 


300 


1036 


Taiwan 


- 


- 


- 


- 


- 


2696 


UK 


22820 


_ 


8782 


- 


- 


23395 


USA 


107436 


689668 


71077 


118954 


167069 


67467 


Yugoslavia 


_ 


- 


_ 


- 


_ 


193 


Unknown 


- 


17796 


33 


1 


1 


2000 


Total 


256683 


770454 


216994 


497895 


610118 


1152532 



V. salvator , it is likely that the skins reported to have originated there 
were re-exports, probably deriving in Indonesia or other neighbouring 
countries. Up to half of the skins in trade in some years were reported to 
have come from unknown sources. 



There was also a smaller reported trade in live V. salvator. Minimum net 
trade amounted to 2283 in 1980, 1238 in 1981, 321 in 1982, 1694 in 1983, 4577 
in 1983 and 4686 in 1985. These numbers, although large, are probably 
insignificant in terms of the species's survival. However, it seems that at 
least local populations are likely to be adversely affected by the extensive 
international trade in skins. Instances of local decline and extirpation are 
reported by Auffenberg (1982; In lltt., 1 March 1984), although no details 

212 



I 



Varanus salvator 

are available. This suggests that present trade volumes may be excessive, and 
reinforces the need for quantitative information on population status and 
trends, currently laclcing. 



Table 2 Reported countries of origin (or exporting country if no original 
source reported) and quantities of transactions in Varanus salvator reported 
to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



a. Countries having or possibly having wild populations of V. salvator 



Bangladesh 


- 


- 


20 


2502 


8225 


525 


Brunei 


- 


1000 


- 


- 


- 


- 


China 


- 


40000 


600 


- 


- 


- 


India 


148 


6200 


- 


1001 


847 


17 kg 


Indonesia 


81051 


148895 


147228 


360841 


404490 


626036 


Malaysia 


1071 


17816 


- 


30348 


25863 


1391 


Philippines 


330 


33653 


22904 


4478 


3634 


82870 


Singapore 


73707 


247453 


69825 


43728 


14420 


307644 


Thailand 


54552 


115988 


20629 


34550 


210582 


214074 


Viet Nam 


- 


- 


- 


15 


- 


- 


'Asia' 


7548 


3400 


- 


10 


- 


- 



b. Countries without wild populations of V. salvator 



Australia 


- 


2454 


- 


- 


- 


- 


Canada 


4 


3 


4 


- 


- 


-■ 


Colombia 


_ 


- 


- 


1000 


- 


- 


France 


54 


- 


- 


- 


- 


- 


Germany, F.R. 


3401 


- 


- 


- 


- 


- 


Japan 


1298 


43910 


600 


8736 


48 


51758 


Netherlands 


4000 


- 


- 


- 


- 


- 


Nigeria 


3 


- 


- 


- 


100 


Ill 


Paraguay 


- 


250 


- 


- 


- 


- 


Spain 


- 


- 


- 


- 


- 


1 


Sudan 


974 


- 


- 


3600 


24 


- 


Switzerland 


- 


- 


- 


24 


- 


- 


Taiwan 


- 


17885 


570 


- 


- 


- 


UK 


794 


9415 


- 


30 


- 


- 


USA 


677 


_ 


1 


421 


178 


431 


Unknown 


166349 


151097 


92471 


110985 


113078 


920 



CONSERVATION MEASURES 



Bangladesh Nominally protected by legislation (Bangladesh CITES MA, 1986). 

Hong Kong Protected under Hong Kong legislation (UK (Hong Kong) CITES MA, 
1987). 



India Nominally protected by legislation in India (Schedule I of the 
Wildlife Protection Act). 

Indonesia Hunting quotas for V. salvator have been set for 1987 totalling 
350 000 animals, divided between the different regions as follows: Aceh 

213 



Varanus salvator 

(65 000), Riau (30 000), Sumut (16 000), Sumbar (17 000), Bengkulu (8500), 
Jambi (8000), Sumsel (20 000), Lampung (5000), Jabar (9000), Kalbar (17 500), 
OKI (18 000), Jateng (500), Jatim (600), Kalsel (36 400), Kalteng (20 000), 
Kaltim (40 000), Sulsel (10 000), Sulteng (1000). Sultra (2500), Sulut (-), 
NTT (1000), NTB (12 000), Timtim (1000), Maluku (1000), Irja (10 000) 
(Indonesia CITES MA, 1987). 

Malaysia In Peninsular Malaysia a law prohibits trapping of lizards up to 
and including 16 inches length (S. Ambu , In lltt., 17 February 1986); also 
listed on the 1972 Wildlife Protection Act, however, trading licenses are 
readily obtainable (B.H. Kiew, In lltt., 25 February 1986). 

Philippines Permits for the export of V. salvator were granted 
retrospectively to allow the sale of stockpiled skins. These totalled lAOO in 
1983, 4020 in 1984 and 248 in 1985 (Philippines CITES MA, 1981). They are 
very substantially less than the number of skins which appear from CITES 
Annual Reports to have originated in the Philippines (Table 2). 

Singapore All wild fauna in Singapore are protected by legislation 
(Singapore, Primary Production Department, In lltt., 11 January, 1986). 

CAPTIVK BREEDING A recent inventory (Slavens, 1985) reports 47 individuals 
in 26 collections in 1984, with breeding in two. 

REFERENCES 

Anon. (1977). Sichuan Biology Research Institute (ed.). A systematic key to 

the reptiles of China. Science Press, Peking. 
Auffenberg, W. (1981). The Behaviour Ecology of the Komodo Monitor 

University Presses of Florida, Gainesville. 
Auffenberg, W. (1982). Catch a lizard, use a lizard. International 

Wildlife 12(6): 16-19. 
Biswas, S., and Kar, S. (1981). Some observations on nesting habitats and 

biology of Varanus salvator (Laurenti) of Bhitarkanika Sanctuary, 

Orissa. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 78(2): 303-308. 
De Rooi j , N. (1915). The Reptiles of the Jndo-Australlan Archipelago. 

Vol. 1. Lacertilia, Chelonia, Emydosauria. E.J. Brill Ltd., Leiden. 

Reprinted 1970, A. Asher and Co. N.V., Vaals. 
Flower, S.S. (1899). Notes on a second collection of reptiles made in the 

Malay Peninsula and Siam. . .with a list of the species recorded from those 

countries. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1899: 

600-697. 
Khan, M.A.R. (1982). Wildlife of Bangladesh. University of Dhaka, Dhaka, 

174 pp. 
Khan, Md.K.b.M. (1969). A preliminary study of the Water Monitor, Varanus 

salvator. Malayan Nature Journal 22(2): 64-68. 
Lekagul, B. (1969). Monitors (Varanus) of Thailand. Conservation News, 

S.E. Asia. No. 8: 31-32. 
Mertens, R. (1963). Helodermatidae, Varanidae, Lanthanotidae . Das 

Tlerrelch (Liste der rezenten Amphibien und Reptilien) 79: 1-26. Walter 

de Gruyter and Co., Berlin. 
Parry, N.E. (1935). Some notes on Water Monitors in the Garo Hills, Assam. 

JournaJ of the Bombay Natural History Society 35(4): 903-905. 
Ridley, H.N. (1899). The habits of Malay reptiles. Journal of the Straits 

Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 32: 185-210. 
Romer, J.D. (1963). Occurrence of the Common Water Monitor Varanus salvator 

(Laurenti), in Hong Kong. Memoirs of the Hong Kong Natural History 

Society 6: 12. 
Salter, R.E. (1983). Summary of currently available information on 

internationally threatened wildlife species in Burma. FO: BUR/80/006. 

Field Document 7/83. FAQ, Rangoon. 

214 



Varanus SAlvator 

Slavens, F.L. (1985). Inventory of live reptiles and amphibians In 

captivity, current January 1, 198S. F.L. Slavens, Seattle, Washington, 

3A1 pp. 
Smith, H.C. (1930). The Monitor Lizards of Burma. Journal of the Bombay 

Natural History Society 3A: 365-373. 
Smith, M.A. (1935). Reptilia and Amphibia, Vol. II, Sauria. In, The Fauna 

of British India. Taylor and Francis Ltd., London. Reprinted 1973, 

Ralph Curtis Boolcs , Fla. 
Taylor, E.H. (1963). The lizards of Thailand. Kansas University Science 

Bulletin 44: 687-1077. 
Tikader, B.K. (1983). Threatened animals of India. Zoological Survey of 

India, Calcutta, 307 pp. 
Whitaker, R. and Whitaker, Z. (1980). Distribution status of Varanus 

salvator in India and Sri Lanka. Herpetologlcal Review 11(3): 81-82. 
Whitaker, R. and Khan, M.A.R. (1982). Monitor Lizards: identity and sexing 

problems. Hamadryad 7(2): 8-10. 



215 



BOA CONSTRICTOR Reconmended list: 2 

[Possible problem] 
Boa constrictor (Linnaeus, 1758) 

Order SERPENTES Family BOIDAE 

SUMMARY AND COHCLUSIONS Widely distributed from Central America to 
Argentina. Largely arboreal, but found in a variety of habitats, from moist 
forests to arid scrubland. The largest subspecies, B. constrictor 
constrictor , grows to up to 5.6 m long. It is chiefly nocturnal, and feeds 
mainly on small vertebrates. Brood sizes are usually between 30 and 50. There 
is little information on population levels, but what there is may be 
conflicting. In some areas it is said to be seriously depleted, and in others, 
abundant. It is locally encouraged and protected to control rodent pests. 

CITES Annual Reports show that from 1980 to 1983 most of the trade in the 
species was in skins, possibly up to 100 000 a year, but that this dropped 
considerably in 1984 and 1985. There is also a demand for pets, and trade in 
live animals declined from 20 000 in 1980 to 1830 in 1983 but increased to 
18 418 in 1985, thereby accounting for more snakes than the slcin trade. The 
major suppliers of live animals are in Central America, particularly El 
Salvador; Paraguay, Argentina and Panama supplied most of the skins. 

Insufficient data are available to set sustainable harvest levels; but it 
seems likely that the current levels are not excessive on a global scale, 
although they may be locally. The major threat is from the skin trade, 
partially because of the higher numbers which were formerly involved, and 
partially because it is liable to use older animals than the pet trade, but 
the apparently increasing trade in live animals should be closely monitored. 
The species is protected in all of the major countries that supply skins, and 
imports from these countries should not be permitted. This requirement is 
clearly being ignored. The major importing countries are the USA, France and 
Italy. In 1987, B. c. occldentalls was transferred to Appendix I of CITES. 

DISTRIBUTION Widespread in Central and South America from Mexico to 
northern Argentina, including selected Caribbean islands. The species has been 
split into several subspecies, which are morphologically distinct. 

Boa constrictor Imperator Daudin 1803: 

Belize Present (Groombridge, 1983). 

Colombia West of the Andes on the mainland (Peters and Orejas-Miranda, 
1970), and including the islands of Providencia, San Andres, Santa Catalina 
(Schwartz and Thomas, 1975), Uraba and Gorgona. It is thought to have been 
introduced to the islands of Providencia and San Andr4s to control rodent 
pests in the plantations around 1930 (Gallego, 1978). The few records from 
Isla Gorgona are thought to indicate sporadic passive migration, and that 
there is no established breeding population (Medem, 1979). 

Costa Rica The highest altitude record for the country was said to be 914 m 
(Pope, 1962). 

Ecuador West of the Andes (Peters and Orejas-Miranda, 1970; Miyata, 1982). 
A new subspecies, B. constrictor melanogaster , has recently been described 
from Ecuador (Langhajnmer , 1983). 

El Salvador The highest altitude record for the country was said to be 
650 m (Pope, 1962) . 



216 



Boa constrictor 
Guatemala Present (Groombridge , 1983). 

Honduras Recorded from scattered locations throughout the mainland and 
including Las Islas de la Bahia (Wilson and Meyer, 1982). 

Mexico Recorded from the states of Baja California, Campeche, Chiapas, 
Colima, Durango, Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacan, Morelos, Nayarit, Oaxaca, 
Puebla, Queretaro, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosi, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tabasco, 
Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Yucatan and Zacatecas (Smith and Smith, 1976). The most 
northerly record is in Sonora, only 120 km from the Arizona border. There are 
occasional, unverified reports from Arizona, but these are thought to 
represent escapes (Baltosser, 1982). The highest altitude record for Mexico 
was said to be 792 m (Pope, 1962). 

Nicaragua Present (Groombridge, 1983). 

Panama B. constrictor Imperator occurs on the mainland in mountainous 
areas, chiefly in the provinces of Chiriqui, Bocas del Toro, Panama and Darien 
(Panama CITES MA, 1985). A seperate subspecies, B. constrictor sabogae, is 
said to be confined to Taboga Island (Peters and Orejas-Miranda, 1970). 

Peru West of the Andes (Peters and Orejas-Miranda, 1970); a seperate 
subspecies, B. constrictor ortonl , is said to be confined to a region in the 
North-West (Peters and Orejas-Miranda, 1970). 



Boa constrictor constrictor Linnaeus, 17S8: 

Argentina Moist forests in the North (Freiberg, 1982). 

Bolivia Widespread in the Amazonian region (Hoogmoed, 1979). 

Brazil Widespread in the Amazonian region (Hoogmoed, 1979), and northern 
forests, but absent from the Atlantic forests (Dixon, 1979). 

Colombia East of the Andes (Peters and Orejas-Miranda, 1970), widespread in 
the Amazonian region (Hoogmoed, 1979). 

Ecuador East of the Andes (Peters and Orejas-Miranda, 1970; Miyata, 1982), 
widespread in the Amazonian region (Hoogmoed, 1979). 

French Guiana Widespread (Gasc and Rodrigues, 1980). 

Guyana Present (Hoogmoed, 1982b). 

Paraguay Found in moist forests (Freiberg, 1982). 

Peru East of the Andes (Peters and Orejas-Miranda, 1970), widespread in the 
Amazonian region (Hoogmoed, 1979). Recorded from Iguitos, Moropon, Mishana 
and Pebas (Dixon and Soini, 1986). 

Surinane Present (Hoogmoed, 1982b). 

Trinidad and Tobago Recorded from Trinidad, where it is widely distributed 
(Emsley, 1977), and Tobago (Emsley, 1977; Hardy, 1982). 

Venezuela Widespread throughout most of the country below 1000 m (Roze, 
1966). 



217 



Boa constrictor 

Boa constrictor amaraii Stull, 1932: 

Brazil South and south-west regions (Freiberg, 1982). 

Bolivia Said to occur in south-east regions (Freiberg, 1982), although this 
is given as the possible range of B. c. occldentalls (Anon., 1987). 

Boa constrictor occldentalls Philippi, 1873: 

Argentina Arid sub-tropical forests in the north and west (Freiberg, 1982; 
Peters and Orejas-Miranda, 1970), in Salta, Jujuy, Chaco, Formosa, Catamarca, 
La Rioja, Tucuman, Santiago del Estero, Cord.oba, Santa Fe , San Luis, San Juan, 
Mendoza and La Pampa, possibly occuring in the west of Buenos Aires (Gallardo, 
1977; Anon., 1987). The area of distribution is said to be declining 
(Argentina CITES MA, 1987). 

Bolivia This subspecies may occur in the extreme south-east adjacent to the 
Argentinian and Paraguayan borders, but there is no accurate information 
(Anon., 1987). 

Paraguay Arid sub-tropical forests (Freiberg, 1982; Peters and 
Orejas-Miranda, 1970) in the western part of the country (Anon., 1987). 

Uruguay A map given by Hoogmoed (1982b) includes Uruguay in the range of 
B. constrictor , but this must be considered to be erroneous. 



Boa constrictor ortanl Cope, 1878: 

Peru Confined to a region in the north-west (Peters and Orejas-Miranda, 
1970). 

Boa constrictor orophlas Linaeus, 17S8: 

St Lucia Widespread on the main island, but absent from the Maria Islands 
(Lazell, 1964; Schwartz and Thomas, 1975; Cork.e, 1983). 



Boa constrictor nebulosa (Lazell, 1964): 

Dominica Present (Schwartz and Thomas, 1975); widely distributed, observed 
at La Chaudiere and River Canari (reported as B. constrictor orophlas by 
Swank and Julien, 1975). 



Boa constrictor sabogae: 

Panama Confined to Taboga Island (Peters and Orejas-Miranda, 1970). 

POPULATION 

Argentina The species is said to have become restricted in distribution 
(Gallardo, 1977) and to have declined in numbers alarmingly in the country 
(Tarak., A., in lltt., 1 June 1981). The status in the provinces has been 
summarised as follows: Cordoba, scarce; Tucuman, potentially endangered; 
Mendoza, virtually extinct although formerly abundant; San Juan, major 
population reduction; La Pampa, extremely rare; San Luis, threatened and 
declining; Salta, declining and in need of protection; Catamarca, considerably 

218 



Bo^ constrictor 

reduced from former abundance owing to hunting; La Rioja, vulnerable; Chaco, 
Formosa and Santiago del Estero, relatively common in the extensive forests 
(Anon., 1987). B. constrictor occidentalls was said to be already extinct 
in the Reserva Ecologica Nacunan in Mendoza (Abraham de Vazquez and Wuilloud, 
undated) . 

Belize No information. 

Bolivia No information. 

Brazil Said to be extremly common, especially around towns (W.E. Magnusson, 
pers . comm. , 1986) . 

Colombia No information. 

Costa Rica No information. 

Dominica Said to be common and widely distributed in 1975 (Swank and 
Julien, 1975) 

Ecuador No information. 

El Salvador Included in the list of species "threatened with extinction" in 
1978, and said to be in need of a 10-year ban on hunting to aid recovery 
(Serrano, 1978). 

French Guiana Said to be widespread (Case and Rodrigues, 1980). 

Guatemala No information. 

Guyana No information. 

Honduras The population size is unknown, but it is thought to be very rare 
(Aguilar, W. , in lltt. 29 November 1985). Distribution records indicate that 
it is widespread within the country (Wilson and Meyer, 1982). 

Panama Moderately common in mountainous areas (Panama CITES MA, 1985). 

Paraguay There is no information for the whole country, but 
B. constrictor was said to be abundant in 1978 in the Parque Nacional 
Defensores del Chaco (Torres Santibanez, 1978). 

Peru Described as common in the Iquitos Rgion (Dixon and Soini, 1986). 
B. constrictor is listed as a "vulnerable species" in Peruvian legislation 
(Fuller and Swift, 1985). 

St Lucia Probably widespread, but present status unknown, thought to be 
vulnerable (Corke, 1983). 

Surlname Said to occur in reasonable numbers (Hoogmoed, 1982a). 

Trinidad and Tobago Widely distributed (Emsley, 1977). 

Venezuela Populations are said to have decreased (Venezuela CITES MA, 
1987), although Gorzula (In lltt., 11 April 1986) considered that they could 
still be categorised as frequent. 

HABITAT AND ECOLOGY A medium or large boid snake, B. constrictor commonly 
grows to a length of 2-3 m (Freiberg, 1982), although may exceptionally reach 
5.6 m (Stidworthy, 1969). Females generally grow larger than males (Stafford, 

219 



Boa constrictor 

1979). B. constrictor constrictor is the largest subspecies, while 
B. constrictor amarall is usually little over 1 m in length (Freiberg, 
1982). B. constrictor occldentalls seldom exceeds 2.2 m (Gallardo, 1977). 

It is largely arboreal, conunonly found in moist forests, along water-courses 
and in coastal regions, although it is rarely seen in water. It may also live 
in arid areas. It is chiefly nocturnal, talcing refuge during the day in hollow 
trees, crevices in rocks or under roots, or the burrows of mammals, especially 
those of vizcachas in Argentina (Pope, 1962; Emsley, 1977; Flores Villela, 
1980; Freiberg, 1982). 

The colouring is very variable: B. constrictor Imperator is largely dark, 
with obscure cross-bars, while fl. constrictor constrictor, the Red-tailed 
Boa, has handsome reddish markings, particularly on the tail (Breen, 1974). 

The growth rate is not known, although the greatest longevity recorded in 
captivity was 40 years, 3 months (Engelmann and Obst, 1984). Pope (1962) 
presents data on the growth in captivity of several individuals. The fastest 
incremant in length was a female which grew from 51 cm to 269 cm in two years. 
Another animal, 157 cm long, only grew to 165 cm in a little over a year. The 
relationship between weight and length is exhibited by a snake which weighed 
348 g at a length of 91 cm, 747 g at 119 cm, and 1992 g at 180 cm (Pope, 1962). 

B. constrictor kills its prey by constriction. It feeds chiefly on small 
mammals, especially rodents, agoutis, pacas, squirrels, bats and monkeys, but 
it may also take birds and other reptiles, such as iguanas, tegus and other 
snakes. Occasionally larger prey, such as ocelot, or even porcupine may be 
taken (Emsley, 1977; Flores Villela, 1980). It is particularly useful in 
agricultural regions in keeping rodent pests under control (Pope, 1962; Hena 
Moya, 1978). Pope (1962) gives some data on the amount of food eaten by boas 
in captivity: one young animal ate 104 mice, 22 hamsters, 5 guinea pigs and 5 
sparrows over a 26-month period. The passage time can be as little as 7-9 
days, but digestion can take longer, depending on temperature (Engelmann and 
Obst, 1984). 

Like all New World boids, it is ovoviviparous , commonly having broods of 
30-50, the young emerging at a length of around 50 cm (Freiberg, 1982). The 
largest brood recorded was 63 (Emsley, 1977). A brood of 59 B. constrictor 
constrictor, in a private collection, averaged 14 inches (36 cm) in length 
(Slavens, 1985). 

The age at maturity in the wild is not known, but a captive animal started 
sexual activity at an age of three years (Pope, 1962). 

The gestation period is said to be 119-295 days (Engelmann and Obst, 1984). A 
pair was seen copulating during the month of April in Mexico (Flores Villela, 
1980), and in captivity it is usual for broods to emerge in May (Breen, 1974). 
In Trinidad it is usual for copulation to occur in the dry season (January to 
May), the young being released from Hay to September (Emsley, 1977). A pair in 
a private collection were observed copulating six times between 15 February 
and June 1985, the young being born on 7 August 1985 (Slavens, 1985). 

THREATS TO SURVIVAL B. constrictor is hunted chiefly for its skin, 
although its flesh is apparently good, and there are reports of its having 
been used as food by pre-Columbian peoples (Flores Villela, 1980), although 
Pope (1962) considers that the consumption of snakes was not widespread in 
South America. More recently, a Belgian restaurant is reported to have 
featured Boa Constrictor on its menu (Chapman, 1982). Live animals are 
extensively traded as pets. The pet trade relies primarily on young animals, 

220 



Boa constrictor 

and differs in this respect from the skin trade, for which larger animals are 
preferred. It is therefore likely to have less impact on exploited 
populations. A pet supplier in the USA (South American Unlimited, New York) 
listed "Guyana Redtail Boas" at US$100 each on its price list in 1985. There 
is very little detailed information regarding exploitation. 

Argentina Hunting for skins is thought to have caused a severe reduction in 
the population of B. constrictor in the country (Tarak, A., In lltt., 1 
June 1981). Habitat destruction is also implicated in some areas, 
particularly Tucuman, East Chaco and Formosa, where the preferred habitat of 
chaguena forest has been destroyed. Vizcacha are sometimes eradicated in 
their burrows by burning or toxic gas, and this has a catastrophic effect on 
the Boas, which regularly use the burrows. There is some hunting for meat and 
for the fat which is supposed to have medicinal properties, but both are of 
minor significance compared with the hunting for skins. The main domestic 
market was in Buenos Aires, but internal trade was made illegal in 1986 
(Anon. , 1987) . 

Brazil In July 1984, IBDF (Institute Brasileiro de Desenvolvimento 
Florestal) seized a shipment of 140 tanned snake skins (fl. constrictor and 
Eunectes mitrlnus) in Porto Alegre. The skins were en route from Belem to Sao 
Leopoldo and were thought to be destined for export once they had been 
manufactured into shoes and other products (J.T. Palazzo, In lltt., 1984). 

Wettenberg et al . (1976) conducted a survey of restaurants in Manaus to find 
out which species of wildlife would be preferred as food by the public. At the 
time of the survey none of ths restaurants had any wildlife on their menus, as 
sales of wildlife products were illegal. "Giboia" (.Boa constrictor) was 
mentioned by only one restaurant. 

Panama Trade in wildlife in Panama has been giving cause for concern since 
at least 1978, when "small boas" were amongst the species being traded. At 
that time there were ten companies involved in the import, export and 
re-export of wildlife products. Legislation did not control the shipment of 
goods in transit through Panama, and companies were said to import animals 
from overseas without adequate documentation, and then to re-export them. 
Occasionally additional animals, caught within Panama, would be included in 
the re-export consignment without being declared (Vallester, 1978). 

Paraguay Figures compiled by the Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganaderia 
(Acevedo Gomez, 1987) showed that some 2000 skins of B. constrictor were 
exported from Paraguay in 1984, and that in 1986, 3114 pairs of shoes made 
from the skin of this species were exported to the USA. It was estimated that 
this accounted for the skins of 623 snakes, on the basis that each pair of 
shoes needed 35-40 cm of skin and that there were an average of 2 m of useful 
skin on each snake. Domestic trade was thought to exert a lesser effect on 
reptile populations. 

St Lucia Since B. constrictor was declared protected, in 1980, the only 
recorded illegal trade was when an English tourist attempted to smuggle out 
five live boas. He was subsequently deported (St Lucia CITES MA, 1985). 

Suriname Hoogmoed (1982a) writes that "there is no hunting for hides, nor 
is the natural habitat being destroyed. So, at least in Suriname, this species 
seems to be safe". 

Venezuela There is said to be some persecution by farmers but no organised 
exploitation for the skin trade (Venezuela CITES MA, 1987). Gorzula (In 
lltt., 11 April 1986) considered that there might be some local trade as pets 
or for skins as curiosities. 

221 



Boa constrictor 

IWTKRWATIONAL TRADE The only reports of international trade in 
B. constrictor are those contained in the Annual Reports of Parties to 
CITES. Some transactions were identified to the level of subspecies, the 
majority of these being B. constrictor constrictor , with only small 
quantities of B. constrictor Imperator , but for the purposes of the 
following analysis all records for the species were lumped together. Only 
trade in live animals and skins was considered. The CITES reports are 
summarised in Tables 1 and 2. Trade in skins was sometimes recorded by 
length. It is notoriously difficult to convert this into numbers of skins, as 
it depends on the size of the snakes killed and on the method of preparation 
of the skin, however an average skin length of 1.4 m has been suggested 
(Anon., 1984). Acevedo Gomez (1987) considered that the average length of 
skins from Paraguay was 2.S m, of which 7 m was usable skin. This may be 
excessive if the subspecies in trade is B. constrictor amaralls , which is 
usually nearer 1 m in length. 

Table la shows that the annual trade in skins of B. constrictor may have 
reached nearly 125 000 in 1983, depending on the length conversion factor, and 
that, if anything, the volume of trade increased from 1980 to 1983, although 
the figures for 1984 and 1985 are markedly lower again. The chief net 
importing countries were the USA, Italy, Mexico, F.R. Germany, Spain, France 
and the UK. 

The numbers of live animals in trade (Table lb) were much lower, and have 
declined from 21 735 in 1980 to 1830 in 1983, but then increased sharply again 
to 18 418 in 1985. Between 70% and 9211 of these were imported to the USA. It 
is not known whether the temporary decline in the level of this trade was due 
to a decline in demand for pet boas, a shortage of supply or stricter 
controls. In 1985 the trade in live animals exceeded the trade in skins. 

Table 2a shows that the great majority of the skins were declared as having 
originated in Paraguay, although Argentina was the major source in 1984, with 
large quantities also originating in Colombia, Guyana, Peru and Suriname. In 
1983, Panama emerged as the source of about 25 000 m of skins. 

The majority of live snakes originated in Central America, Colombia and 
Suriname (Table 2b) , which probably reflects the ease of supply to the main 
market in the USA. The dramatic increase in the volume of trade in 1985 was 
almost entirely attributable to snakes originating in El Salvador. The 
countries of origin indicate that the main subspecies used in the pet trade is 
B. constrictor Imperator which is supposedly less suitable in temperament as 
a pet than B. constrictor constrictor (Breen, 1974). Most of the skins, 
where subspecies was declared, were of B. constrictor constrictor . Of the 
countries with no wild populations of B. constrictor the majority probably 
represent re-exports where the country of origin was not specified, or 
possibly captive-bred snakes not specified as such. 



222 



Boa constrlctoz 



Table la. Minimum net 


commercial 


imports 


of B 


constrictor skins 


reported to 


CITES. 
























1980 


1981 




1982 




1983 




1984 




1985 


Andorra 












50 










Austria 


- 


- 




20 




7 




_ 




8 


Belgium 


3644 


- 




4 




- 




7 


m 


- 


Canada 


1912 


1972 




150 




167 




31 




1 




211 m 


130 


m 


18 


m 


_ 




- 




_ 


Chile 


_ 


20 




2 




154 




40 




_ 


Denmark 


46 


- 




95 




- 




- 




- 


Finland 


- 


- 




- 




- 




- 




16 m 


France 


108 


616 




393 




- 




3887 




1050 




- 


10 


m 


- 




- 




- 




- 


German D.R. 


- 


- 




- 




13 


m 


- 




- 


Germany, F.R. 


7964 


- 




174 




4185 




95 


m 


- 


Hong Kong 


- 


- 




44 




- 




- 




- 


Israel 


43 


47 




- 




- 




110 




124 m 


Italy 


5550 


18652 




18676 




17324 




3740 




6012 




24064 m 


547 


m 


8789 


ni 


- 




7763 


m 


- 




- 


750 


m2 


- 




- 




- 




- 


Japan 


- 


- 




- 




76 




- 




- 


Kuwait 


- 


- 




- 




- 




- 




1 


Lebanon 


- 


- 




- 




- 




67 


m 


- 


Mexico 


26 


5192 




9576 




5838 




400 




3 


Netherlands 


332 


- 




- 




- 




- 




- 


New Zealand 


14 


- 




- 




- 




105 




- 


Peru 


6908 


- 




- 




- 




- 




- 


Saudi Arabia 


- 


- 




40 




- 




- 




14 


Singapore 


- 


- 




- 




- 




21 




- 


South Africa 


- 


12 




- 




- 




- 




- 


Spain 


3315 


_ 




2216 




7233 




3924 




- 




- 


_ 




- 




2455 


m 


- 




- 


Sweden 


_ 


- 




- 




- 




2 




- 


Switzerland 


484 


617 




102 




121 




10 




11 




_ 


5 


m 


- 




4 


m 


- 




- 


Turkey 


- 


- 




- 




20 




- 




2500 


UK 


_ 


5000 


m 


5000 


m 


17 




- 




- 


Uruguay 


_ 


3246 




- 




758 




359 




- 


USA 


19156 


53643 




135 




1695 




10302 




4711 




_ 


10971 


m 


20464 


m 


84865 


m 


698 


m 


800 m 




_ 


_ 




3290 


leg 


- 




- 




105 kg 


Venezuela 


18 


319 




119 




- 




- 




S 


Unknown 


- 


- 




167 




- 




- 




— 


Total 


49320 


84336 




31913 




37645 




22931 




14316 




24275 m 


16663 


m 


34271 


m 


87337 


m 


8630 


m 


940 m 




- 


750 


m2 


3290 


kg 


- 




- 




105 kg 



223 



Boa constrictor 

Table lb Minimum net commercial imports of live B. constrictor reported to 
CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Austria 


203 


8 


3 




63 


41 


Belgium 


- 


- 


2 


- 


6 


- 


Canada 


272 


92 


9 


24 


149 


267 


Colombia 


- 


- 


- 


_ 


- 


1 


Czechoslovakia 


9 


1 


1 


— 


_ 


_ 


Denmark 


4 


4 


3 


- 


54 


12 


Finland 


- 


- 


4 ■ 


- 


- 


_ 


France 


_ 


5 


_ 


12 


8 


10 


German D.R. 


165 


- 


_ 


_ 


_ 


1 


Germany, F.R. 


1764 


356 


373 


117 


1877 


892 


Greece 


- 


- 


- 


2 


1 


1 


Honduras 


- 


- 


1 


_ 


- 


_ 


Indonesia 


- 


- 


_ 


3 


_ 


5 


Ireland 


- 


1 


- 


- 


_ 


_ 


Israel 


- 


- 


- 


_ 


7 


2 


Italy 


3 


46 


41 


1 


176 


- 


Jamaica 


- 


- 


- 


- 


1 


- 


Japan 


4 


22 


24 


16 


24 


29 


Korea, Rep of 


- 


- 


1 


- 


- 


- 


Liberia 


- 


3 


- 


- 


- 


- 


Malaysia 


2 


- 


- 


_ 


_ 


- 


Martinique 


- 


- 


- 


- 


1 


- 


Mexico 


- 


1 


- 


- 


- 


- 


Netherlands 


26 


3 


- 


9 


13 


192 


Poland 


- 


- 


16 


- 


- 


_ 


Romania 


2 


- 


_ 


_ 


_ 


_ 


Saudi Arabia 


- 


- 


4 


2 


- 


- 


Singapore 


- 


- 


_ 


2 


_ 


2 


South Africa 


- 


- 


2 


_ 


2 


_. 


Spain 


- 


- 


8 


13 


1 


15 


Sri Lanka 


2 


- 


- 


- 


_ 


_ 


Sweden 


- 


4 


- 


_ 


^ 


_ 


Switzerland 


381 


78 


87 


- 


15 


- 


Tunisia 


- 


- 


- 


_ 


1 


_ 


UAE 


- 


- 


4 


_ 


_ 


_ 


UK 


327 


370 


141 


39 


239 


173 


USA 


18206 


12794 


3605 


1589 


6285 


16774 


USSR 


2 


2 


9 


_ 


_ 


-1 


Unknown 


3 


64 


- 


1 


_ 


_ 


Uruguay 


- 


- 


- 


- 


_ 


1 



Total 



21375 



13854 



4338 



1830 



8923 



18418 



224 



Boa constrictor 

Table 2a. Reported countries of origin or ezport for conmercial exports of 
B. constrictor skins reported to CITES. 





1980 




1981 




1982 




1983 


1984 




1985 




Countries with 


wild popul 


ations 


of 


B. constrictor 










Argentina 


5174 




11613 




2592 




259 


12631 




2189 






3154 


m 


1674 


m 


141 


kg 


1628 m 


426 


m 


_ 




Bolivia 


424 




1 




58 




_ 


2 




_ 




Brazil 


2753 




104 




_ 




_ 


_ 




_ 






5000 


m 


_ 




_ 




_ 


_ 




_ 




Colombia 


592 




5175 




4126 




270 


_ 




1 






- 




- 




_ 




5281 m 


_ 




_ 




Costa Rica 


1 




_ 




5 




_ 


_ 




_ 




Ecuador 


1 




1 




- 




- 


1 




_ 




Guyana 


- 




- 




- 




2570 


620 




124 


ID 


Honduras 


1 




1 




1 




1 


_ 




_ 




Mexico 


3 




2 




- 




1 


_ 




_ 




Nicaragua 


2 




- 




_ 




_ 


_ 




5 




Panama 


- 




1 




9885 




1585 


28 




10 






- 




- 




6764 


m 


24825 m 


2199 


m 


_ 




Paraguay 


23543 




71294 




16207 




28313 


12166 




13085 






21121 


m 


8482 


m 


14491 


m 


89057 m 


1484 


m 


800 


ID 




- 




- 




9 


H 


- 


- 




105 


kg 


Peru 


4 




1 




3140 


H 


- 


_ 




_ 






- 




3314 


m 


1986 


tn 


- 


_ 




_ 




Suriname 


- 




- 




434 




_ 


_ 




_ 






_ 




750 


m2 


1915 


m 


200 m 


_ 




_ 




Trinidad & Tobi 


igo - 




1 




- 




_ 


_ 




_ 





Countries without wild populations of B. constrictor 



Guadeloupe 


- 


- 




- 


- 


_ 


India 


- 


250 


m 


_ 


- 


_ 


Indonesia 


- 


- 




_ 


- 


_ 


Italy 


15 


1 




- 


- 


- 


Nigeria 


- 


- 




2510 


_ 


- 


Singapore 


- 


149 




_ 


_ 


- 


South Africa 


- 


- 




24 


_ 


_ 


Spain 


1 


- 




- 


- 


- 


Thailand 


- 


- 




36 


_ 


_ 


UK 


2 


_ 




_ 


_ 


_ 


USA 


- 


— 




10991 m 


6 


- 


Uruguay 


- 


- 




- 


- 


- 


Unknown 


28403 


7230 




2526 


5461 


125 




_ 


4406 


m 


110 m 


5206 m 


4521 m 




- 


- 




1 kg 


- 


- 



1 

16 m 



64 



225 



Boa constrictor 



Table 2b Reported countries of origin or export for commercial 
live B. constrictor reported to CITES. 



exports of 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Countries with wild populations of B. constrictor 



Argentina 


_ 


_ 


- 


2 


7 


52 


Belize 


_ 


2 


1 


- 


- 


— 


Bolivia 


86 


108 


- 


7 


_ 


- 


Brazil 


- 


1 


- 


_ 


_ 


6 


Colombia 


1215 


11299 


443 ■ 


- 


110 


- 


Costa Rica 


_ 


2 


1 


_ 


2 


_ 


Ecuador 


- 


1 


6 


_ 


- 


- 


El Salvador 


124 


11 


280 


1247 


1759 


14389 


Fr. Guiana 


- 


2 


3 


- 


- 


_ 


Guatemala 


15330 


61 


14 


75 


6327 


1521 


Guyana 


130 


354 


154 


227 


247 


429 


Honduras 


131 


12 


1 


_ 


290 


348 


Mexico 


- 


4 


94 


50 


25 


- 


Nicaragua 


- 


- 


- 


- 


_ 


1 


Panama 


1374 


379 


3174 


- 


- 


500 


Paraguay 


1802 


34 


- 


- 


4 


1064 


St Lucia 


- 


- 


- 


1 


12 


- 


Sur iname 


3 


1585 


155 


123 


114 


77 


Trinidad & Tob 


ago - 


1 


- 


_ 


_ 


1 


Venezuela 


_ 


2 


1 


_ 


4 


_ 



Countries without wild populations of B. constrictor 



Australia 


- 


- 


- 


- 


30 


_ 


Austria 


- 


- 


- 


6 


2 


3 


Canada 


6 


4 


8 


2 


20 


4 


Czechoslovakia 


- 


1 


- 


_ 


- 


_ 


Denmark 


- 


- 


1 


_ 


1 


- 


France 


- 


2 


1 


- 


- 


- 


German D.R. 


- 


- 


18 


35 


112 


1 


Germany, F.R. 


145 


- 


1 


2 


16 


1 


Haiti 


- 


3 


- 


- 


_ 


9 


Martinique 


- 


- 


- 


_ 


1 


- 


Netherlands 


- 


- 


9 


- 


_ 


1 


Nigeria 


- 


- 


- 


1 


_ 


_ 


Switzerland 


2 


11 


- 


89 


6 


48 


Togo 


- 


- 


- 


1 


_ 


_ 


UK 


2 


- 


- 


- 


1 


- 


USA 


304 


109 


11 


19 


65 


127 


Unknown 


1312 


532 


108 


20 


4 


3 



226 



Boa constrictor 



COWSKRVATIOW MEASURES 



The legal protection status of B. constrictor in 



various countries throughout its range is summarised in Table 3. On the basis 
of this information it appears that the species is protected in most of the 
major supplying countries: Paraguay, Argentina, Colombia, Peru and Panama. 
Furthermore the quantities of skins reported as originating in Paraguay are so 
large that it seems likely that they did not originate in the country but were 
smuggled over the border from Brazil. 



Table 3. Legal prohibition on the commercial hunting, internal trade and 
commercial export of B. constrictor . Dates are those on which the 
legislation came into force. A - All live animals & parts; L - Live animals 
only; S - Skins; P - Allowed under permit; C - Closed seasons or quotas may be 
imposed; « - these territories are Overseas D6partements of France with which 
the EEC may trade without the imposition of CITES controls; ? - no information 
(Fuller et aj . , 1987) . 



CITES 



Hunting 



Trade 



Export 



Argentina 


1981 


Belize 


1981 


Bolivia 


1979 


Brazil 


1975 


Colombia 


1981 


Costa Rica 


1975 


Dominica 


- 


Ecuador 


1975 


El Salvador 


1987 


Fr. Guiana 


1978 * 


Fr. W. Indies 


1978 » 


Guatemala 


1980 


Guyana 


1977 


Honduras 


1985 


Mexico 


- 


Nicaragua 


1977 


Panama 


1978 


Paraguay 


1977 


Peru 


1975 


St Lucia 


1982 


Suriname 


1981 


Trinidad & Tobago 


1984 


Venezuela 


1978 



A 1983 



A 


1979 


A 


1967 


A 


1973 


A 


1985 


? 





C 


1951 


A 


1977 


A 


1980 


A 


1975 ++ 


A 


1973 


A 


1980 


A 


1958 


A 


1970 



A 


1983 


A 


1981 


A 


1979 


A 


1967 


A 


1973 


A 


1970 


? 




A 


1986 



A 


1977 


A 


1980 


A 


1975 


A 


1973 


A 


1980 


A 


1958 


A 


1970 



1986 
1981 
1979 
1967 
1973 
1970 

1981 
1985 
1986 

1987 
1986 
1978 
1982 
1977 
1980 
1975 
1973 
1980 

1958 
1970 



++ 



■t- Export quotas of 600 live B. constrictor and 500 skins were suggested 
for 1987 and 1988. 

++ On 17 February 1986, Decree 13806 allowed the export of 50 000 pairs of 

shoes made from B. constrictor and Bunectes spp. over the period of one 

year. The ban on hunting was also relaxed for this purpose. A further 

decree, No. 19815 of 6 February 1987, extended this dispensation for a further 
year without specifying the number of shoes. 



CAPTIVE BREEDING B. constrictor is regularly kept both in zoological 
collections and as a pet. B. constrictor Imperator is reported to be 
difficult to tame, whereas B. constrictor constrictor adapts much better to 
captivity (Breen, 1974). 



227 



Boa constrictor 

An international survey of 260 zoological collections in 1985 (Slavens, 1985) 
revealed the following information on the keeping and breeding of various 
subspecies . 

B. constrictor anarall: a total of 6 animals kept in 2 different 
collections. No breeding recorded. 

B. constrictor constrictor: a total of 223 animals kept in 38 different 
collections. Breeding recorded in 8 collections, a total of 183 young 
surviving. 

B. constrictor Imperator: a total of 22 animals kept in 10 different 
collections. No breeding recorded. 

B. constrictor nebulosa: a total of 8 animals kept in 3 different 
collections. No breeding recorded. 

B. constrictor occldentalls: a total of 34 animals kept in 12 different 
collections. No breeding recorded. 

B. constrictor orophlas: a total of 7 animals kept in 3 different 
collections. No breeding recorded. 

B. constrictor ortonl: a total of 8 animals kept in 4 different 
collections. No breeding recorded. 

B. constrictor slgma (=B. constrictor imperator ?): a total of 2 animals 
kept in 1 collection. No breeding recorded. 

fl. constrictor subspp. : a total of 213 animals kept in 48 different 
collections. Breeding recorded in 7 collections, a total of 221 young 
surviving. 

There is one record of commercial captive breeding of B. constrictor in 
Latin America. A company in Panama, called Panama Sanchez, established a 
captive-breeding operation for boa constrictors {Boa constrictor) In April 
1981 near Panama City. The operation was allowed to collect adult snakes and 
built up a breeding stock of 100 animals. Live snakes were exported to Miami, 
USA, under five permits issued over the period 1981/1982. 

375 snakes were exported in 1981 and 3355 in 1982. In July 1983 the operation 
was closed after bad management pcactices caused the Government to suspend 
permission to operate (O.H. Botello, In lltt., 9 November 1983). 

REFERKNCES 

Abraham de Vazquez, E.H. and Wuilloud, C.F. (undated). Propuesta para la 

inclusion de la Reserva Ecologica de Nacunan en la Red Hundlal de Reservas 

de Biosfera. Unpublished report. 
Acevedo Gomez, C. (1987). Especies de fauna amenezadas por comerclo en el 

Paraguay. Ministerio de Agrlcultura y Ganaderia, Paraguay, Unpublished. 
Anon. (1984). A perception of the issue of high trade-volume. Unpublished 

report prepared for CITES by the Wildlife Trade Monitoring Unit, lUCN. 
Anon. (1987). Proposal to transfer Boa constrictor occldentalls from 

Appendix II to Appendix I. Submitted to the 6th Meeting of the Conference 

of the Parties to CITES, by the Republic of Uruguay. 
Baltosser, W.H. (1982). Geographic distribution. Serpentes: Boa constrictor 

Imperator. Herpetologlcal Review 13(3): 81-82. 
Breen, J.F. (1974). Encyclopedia of reptiles and amphibians. T.H.F. 

Publications, Neptune City, New Jersey, 576 pp. 
Chapman, G. (1982). Reptiles, conservation or abuse. Herptlle 7(3): 8-10. 



228 



Boa constrictor 

Corke, D. (1983). The reptiles of the Maria Islands, St Lucia. Unpublished 

report to the Eastern Caribbean Natural Area Management Programme. 
Dixon, J.R. (1979). Origin and distribution of reptiles in lowland tropical 

rainforests of South America. In: Duellman, W.E. (ed.) The South American 

herpetof auna: its origin, evolution, and dispersal. Museuin of MaturaJ 

History, University of Kansas, Monograph (7): 217-240. 
Dixon, J.R. and Soini, P. (1986). The reptiles of the Upper Amazon Basin, 

Iquitos Region, Peru. Part 1 Lizards and Amphisbaenians . Part 2 

Crocodilians , Turtles and Snakes. Milwaukee Public Museum, 154 pp. 
Emsley, M. (1977). Snakes and Trinidad and Tobago. Bulletin of the Maryland 

Herpetologlcal Society 13(4): 201-304. 
Engelmann, W.-E. and Obst, F.J. (1984). Snakes. Biology, behaviour and 

relationship to man. Croom Helm, London, 221 pp. 
Flores Villela, O.A. (1980). Reptiles de importancia economica en Mexico. 

Thesis, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, 278 pp. 
Freiberg, M. (1982). Snakes of South America. T.H.F. Publications, Neptune, 

New Jersey, 198 pp. 
Fuller, K.S., Swift, B., Jorgensen, A and Brautigam, A. (1987). Latin 

American wildlife trade laws. Second Edition (Revised). World Wildlife 

Fund-US. 418 pp. 
Gallardo, J.M. (1977). Reptiles de los alrededores de Buenos Aires. 

Editorial Universi taria de Buenos Aires, 213 pp. 
Gallego, H.C. (1978). Informe de la Comision Efectuada a San Andres y 

Providencia: fauna silvestre. Unpublished report, 25 pp. 
Gasc, J. -P. and Rodrigues, M.T. (1980). Liste pr61iminaire des serpents de la 

Guyane frangaise. Bulletin du Museum National d'Hlstolre Naturelle, 

Paris, 4e Serle, Section A (Zoologle) 2(2): 559-598. 
Groombridge, B. (1983). World checklist of threatened amphibians and 

reptiles. Third Edition, N.C.C., London, 65 pp. 
Hardy, J.D. (1982). Biogeography of Tobago, West Indies, with special 

reference to amphibians and reptiles: a review. Bulletin of the Maryland 

Herpetologlcal Society 18(2): 37-142. 
Hoogmoed, M.S. (1979). The herpetofauna of the Guianan region. In: Duellman, 

W.E. (ed.) The South American herpetofauna: its origin, evolution, and 

dispersal. Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas, Monograph 

(7): 241-280. 
Hoogmoed, M.S. (1982a). Regional reports: Suriname. Proceedings of the 

lUCN/SSC Snake Group. First Meeting, Madras, p. 12. 
Hoogmoed, M.S. (1982b). Snakes of the Guianan region. Memorias do Instltuto 

Butantan 46: 219-254. 
Langhammer, J.K. (1983). A new subspecies of Boa constrictor. Boa constrictor 

melanogaster , from Ecuador (Serpentes: Boidae). Tropical Fish Hobby 

32(4): 70-79. 
Lazell, J.D. (1964). The Lesser Antillean representatives of Bothrops and 

Constrictor. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard 

University 132: 245-273. 
Medem, F. (1979). Los anfibios y reptiles de las Islas Gorgona y Gorgonilla. 

In: Prahl, H. von, Guhl , F. and Grogl, M. (eds). Gorgona. Universidad de 

los Andes, Colombia, pp. 189-217. 
Mena Moya, R.A. (1978). Fauna y caza en Costa Rica. Ramon A. Mena Herrera y 

Suchs. S.A., Costa Rica, 255 pp. 
Miyata, K. (1982). A checklist of the reptiles of Ecuador with a bibliography 

of Ecuadorean herpetology. Smithsonian Herpetologlcal Information 

Service No. 54: 1-70. 
Peters, J. A. and Orejas-Miranda, B. (1970). Catalogue of the Neotropical 

Squamata; Part 1, Snakes. Bulletin of the U.S. National Museum 297(1): 

1-347. 
Pope, C.H. (1962). The giant snakes. Routledge and Kaegan Paul, London, 

297 pp. 

229 



Boa constrictor 

Roze, J. (1966). La taxonomia y zoogeografia de los ofidos en Venezuela. Bd . 

Blbl . 28 Col. Clenc. Biol. 3: 1-362. 
Schwartz, A. and Thomas, R (197S). A check.-list of West Indian amphibians and 

reptiles. Carnegie Huseunt of Natural History Special Publication 1: 

1-216. 
Serrano, F. (1978). Informe de actividades de la Unidad de Parques Nacionales 

y Vida Silvestre de El Salvador. In: Morales, R. , MacFarland, C, Incer, 

J. and Hobbs , A. (eds), Prlmera Reunion Regional Centroamerlcana Sobre 

Vlda Silvestre. Centro Agronomico Tropical de Investigacion y Ensenanza, 

Turrialba, Costa Rica, pp. 117-12A. 
Slavens, F.L. (1985). Inventory of live reptiles and amphibians In captivity 

current January 1, 198S. F.L. Slavens,, Seattle, Washington, 3A1 pp. 
Smith, H.M. and Smith, R.B. (1976). Synopsis of the herpetofauna of Mexico 

Vol. III. Source analysis and Index for Mexican reptiles. John Johnson, 

Vermont, 23 pp. 
Stafford, P. (1979). Spotlight on a species: the Boa Constrictor. The 

Herptlle 4(3) : 13-16. 
Stidworthy, J. (1969). Snakes of the Uorld. Hamlyn, London, 160 pp. 
Swank, W.G. and Julien, C.R. (1975). Wildlife management and protection, 

Dominica. The distribution and status of wildlife in Dominica FAO Project 

Working Document FO:DP/DMI/74/001. 
Torres Santibanez, H. (1978). Conservacion y manejo de la fauna silvestre del 

Parque Nacional Defensores del Chaco. FAO Working Document FAO/SFN: 

6/PAR/02/T. 
Vallester, E. (1978). Informe de Panama sobre la situacion de la fauna 

silvestre. In: Morales, R., MacFarland, C, Incer, J. and Hobbs, A. (eds), 

Prlmera Reunion Regional Centroamerlcana Sobre Vlda Silvestre. Centro 

Agronomico Tropical de Investigacion y Ensenanza, Turrialba, Costa Rica, 

pp. A3-64. 
Wettenberg, G.B., Ferreira, M. , Santos Brito, W.L. dos and Araujo, V.C. de 

(1976). Amazonian fauna preferred as food. F.A.O. Technical Report, No. 

6, FO:DP/BRA/71/545, 17 pp. 
Wilson, L.D. and Meyer, J.R. (1982). The snakes of Honduras. Milwaukee 

Public Museum, Wisconsin, 159 pp. 



230 



ANACONDA 

Bunectes muzlnus (Linnaeus, 1758) 

Order SERPKNTES 



Recommended list: 2 
[Possible problem] 



Family BOIDAE 



SUMMARY AND COWCLUSIOKS The largest snake in South America, found in the 
drainage basins of the Orinoco and the Amazon. Primarily aquatic, inhabiting 
large rivers and swamps, and possibly growing to lengths in excess of 10 m. 
Prey includes a variety of mammals, up to the size of peccaries, and reptiles. 
Brood sizes range from 14 to 82. Population levels are unknown. 

The species is not extensively used for food, but may be persecuted for 

cultural reasons. There is a substantial skin trade, probably over 20 000 

animals a year, mostly declared as originating in Paraguay, Bolivia and 

Guyana, but in reality probably deriving from Brazil. There is also a low 
level of trade in live animals, probably for the pet trade. 

Sustainable hunting rates cannot be estimated, owing to the almost complete 
lack of population data, but the majority of the trade is currently illegal 
and originates in countries where the species is protected. Importing 
countries should not permit imports from these countries, but this requirement 
is obviously being ignored. The chief Importing countries are the USA, Italy 
and France. 



DISTRIBUTION Found in moist forests and swamps in the drainage basins of 
the Orinoco and Amazon. Tho species has been divided into two subspecies: 
Bunectes muTlnus scytale (formerly Bunectes murlnus murlnus) , found in the 
Amazonian region; and Bunectes murlnus murlnus (formerly Bunectes murlnus 
glgas) , found chiefly in Venezuela and Guiana. However as there is not 
agreement on the subspecific names, and as B. murlnus murlnus could apply to 
either subspecies, giving considerable potential for confusion, the subspecies 
are not considered separately in this account. 

Bolivia Found in the Amazonian region (Hoogmoed, 1979). 

Brazil Widespread in the Amazonian region, but absent from the Atlantic 
forests (Dixon, 1979; Hoogmoed, 1979; Hoogmoed, 1982b). 

Colombia Found in the Amazonian region (Hoogmoed, 1979). 

Ecuador Found in the Amazonian region (Hoogmoed, 1979; Miyata, 1982). 

French Guiana Present (Gasc and Rodrigues, 1980; Hoogmoed, 1982b). 

Guyana Found in the Amazonian region (Hoogmoed, 1982b). 

Peru Recorded from Quistococha, Iquitos, Rio Napo region (Dixon and Solnl, 
1986). 

Paraguay There is a single record of B. murlnus from a swamp in the 
Parque Nacional Cerro Cora (Anon., 1982). Scott (In lltt., 2 April 1982) 
reports that it is apparently found near all of the large rivers in the East 
of the country. There is dispute as to whether these records may have been 
confused with E. notaeus. 

Surlname Present (Hoogmoed, 1982a; 1982b). 



231 



Eunectes muzlnus 

Trinidad and Tobago Recorded from Trinidad, but not from Tobago (Bmsley, 
1977; Hardy, 1982). 

Venezuela The distribution covers the Orinoco and Haracaibo basins, 
including all the tributaries. The species has not been found in the north of 
the country except in the Orinoco Delta and in Caripito (Roze, 1966). Found 
in the Llanos and Yunari Savanna of central Venezuela (Rivero-Blanco and 
Dixon), and also in the Amazonian region (Hoogmoed, 1979; Hoogmoed, 1982b). 
Probably does not occur above 500 m (S. Gorzula, In lltt., 11 April 1986). 



POPULATIOM 

Bolivia No information. 

Brazil No information. 

Colombia No information. 

Ecuador No information. 

French Guiana Said to be relatively abundant, though rarely reported (Case 
and Rodrigues, 1980). 

Guyana No information. 

Paraguay Before the single published record of B. murlnus, reported in 
1982, the species was not considered to occur in the country (Peters and 
Orejas-Hiranda 1970). It must therefore be considered to be rare, if present 
at all. 

Peru Said to be common in and around flooded forests and large and small 
streams where aquatic vegetation is dense (Dixon and Soini, 1986). 

Suriname Said to occur in reasonable numbers (Hoogmoed, 1982a). 

Trinidad and Tobago Locally common in the Narira Swamp and the larger 
rivers of Trinidad, but does not occur in Tobago (Emsley, 1977; Hardy, 1982). 

Venezuela Gorzula (in lltt., 11 April 1986) considered that the species 
was frequent in Venezuela, saying aestivating animals could readily be found 
in receding lagoons in the Llanos in the dry season. In the right habitat in 
southern Venezuela and Sucre, specimens are found more rarely - about one 
every AO-50 man days. 

HABITAT AND ECOLOGY Claimed by some to be the world's largest snake, 
Bunectes murinus is almost certainly the heaviest, weighing up to a tonne, 
although the maximum authenticated length of 7.63 m is exceeded by Python 
retlculatus (Emsley, 1977; Freiberg, 1982). Unauthenticated reports put the 
maximum length at 12-14 m (Pope, 1962), and it is not unlikely that snakes of 
this size occur (Best, 1984). 

E. murlnus is primarily nocturnal and aquatic, inhabiting swamps and 
slow-flowing rivers. It occasionally emerges to rest on branches or sand banks 
but is never found far from water, and always returns to water when 
threatened. The young tend to be more arboreal than the adults (Pope, 1962; 
Emsley, 1977). Usually solitary, there are isolated records of aggregations of 
up to 11 snakes (Pope, 1962), although these may be associated with mating 
behaviour. Owing to its large bulk, it is relatively sluggish on land but can 
move with great rapidity in the water (Belloumini et aJ . , 1976/77). 

232 



Bunectes mirlnus 

The growth of E. murlnus has been studied in captivity. Young emerge at a 
length of about 70 cm, although hatchlings as small as 36-52 cm have been 
reported (Belloumini et al . , 1976/77). Holstrom (1980) reports three broods 
of hatchlings averaging 74.8-87.7 cm in length and weighing 206-265 g. At 11 
months Deschanel (1978) reported that young had grown to 140-157 cm 
(1.65-1.91 kg), and at five years lengths of 3.1-3.2 m (17-27 kg) have been 
recorded. After the age of three years, the increase in length slows but the 
snake continues to increase in weight. Snakes of 4-5 m commonly weigh 
50-100 kg (Belloumini et aJ . , 1976/77). The record age in captivity is 29 
years (Emsley, 1977). 

Ecdysis occurs about six times a year in captivity. A young captive male 
moulted 30 times during its first five years of life (Belloumini et ai . , 
1976/77), while six- to seven-year-old females moulted five to seven times a 
year. The moulting frequency increases during gestation (Holstrom, 1980). 

E. murlnus is viviparous; the gestation period has been reported to vary 
from six to nine months (Belloumini et ai . , 1976/77; Deschanel, 1978; 
Holstrom, 1980; Holmstrom, 1982). Brood sizes have been reported to vary from 
14 (Deschanel, 1978) to 82, larger mothers having more young, although the 
size of the young is inversely correlated with the size of the mother 
(Belloumini et al . , 1976/77). Mating always takes place in the water and, in 
Trinidad, usually occurs in December and January, the young emerging in July 
and August (Emsley, 1977). In captivity, heterologous mating between 
E. murlnus and Eunectes notaeus has been recorded, though no young were 
produced (Veinert and Belloumini, 1980/81). 

The prey is killed by constriction, a great variety of species being taken. 
Emsley (1977) lists agoutis, Paca, cavies, peccaries, deer, monkeys, birds, 
caiman, turtles, and some occasional domestic animals, but considers it 
doubtful that they eat fish, although Pope (1962) reports considerable 
quantities of fish from the stomachs of specimens taken in Guyana. The size of 
the prey depends on the size of the snake. A 25-foot (7.6-m) Anaconda was 
found in French Guiana with a 100-lb (45-kg) pig (possibly a peccary) in its 
stomach (Pope, 1962). The prey is always taken near water, and is usually 
drawn underwater for constriction. One snake was observed to remain underwater 
for 17 minutes with its prey (Emsley, 1977). Young Anacondas tend to ingest 
their prey underwater, while older animals often do so on the surface 
(Belloumini et al . , 1976/77). 

A female in captivity ate a total of 88.9 kg of food in her first five years 
of life, during which time she grew to a weight of 22 kg. A male sibling ate a 
total of 79.9 kg and grew to 17 kg during the same period (Belloumini et 
al. , 1976/77) . 

THREATS TO SURVIVAL E. murlnus is hunted chiefly for its skin, although 
its flesh is occasionally eaten. Gasc and Rodrigues (1980) reported that it 
was found "throughout" French Guiana on the menus of restaurants specialising 
in exotic foods. Pope (1962) considered that the consumption of snakes was not 
widespread in South America. The native peoples of French Guiana have a strong 
aversion to Anacondas for cultural reasons, and are unwilling to kill, or even 
look at them (Gasc and Rodrigues, 1980). Live animals are extensively traded 
as pets. A pet supply company in the USA (South American Unlimited, New York) 
included Anacondas on its price list in 1985 at US$60 each. Host of the 
animals traded as pets are thought to be small, and therefore this trade is 
likely to be less damaging to the population than the skin trade, which would 
tend to use larger animals. There is very little detailed information 
regarding exploitation. The species adapts readily to irrigation dams and 
other man-made water bodies (S. Gorzula, In lltt., 11 April 1986). 



233 



Bunectes murlnus 

Bruil In July 1984, IBDF (Instituto Brasileiro de Desenvolvimento 
Florestal) seized a shipment of lAO tanned snake skins (B. constrictor and 
BunBctes murlnus) in Porto Alegre. The skins were en route from Belem to Sao 
Leppoldo and were thought to be destined for eventual export once they had 
been manufactured into shoes and other products (Palazzo, J.T., in lltt. 
1984). 

Paraguay Scott {In lltt., 2 April 1982) reports that all E. murlnus 
that are found are usually killed. The habitat where it is found, along the 
large rivers in eastern Paraguay, is rapidly being settled. Figures compiled 
by the Hinisterio de Agriculture y Ganaderia (Acevedo Gomez, 1987) showed that 
some 12 000 skins of B. murlnus were exported from Paraguay in 1984. 

Surinane Hoogmoed (1982a) writes that "there is no hunting for hides, nor 
is the natural habitat being destroyed. So, at least in Suriname, this species 
seems to be safe". 

Venezuela Anacondas are killed very occasionally in Venezuela by ranchers 
when they have taken cattle. There is thought to be no exploitation for meat 
and little for the skin or pet trade. There are locally held beliefs that 
anacondas, known as "madre de agua", prevent lagoons from drying out (S. 
Gorzula, In lltt., 11 April 1986). 

INTERNATIONAL TRADE The only reports of international trade in B. murlnus 
are those contained in the Annual Reports of Parties to CITES. Only trade In 
live animals and skins was considered. 

Trade in skins was sometimes recorded by length. It is notoriously difficult 
to convert this into numbers of skins, as it depends on the size of the snakes 
killed and on the method of preparation of the skin, however an average skin 
length of 2.1 m has been suggested (Anon., 1984). It must be stressed that 
with a snake which shows such a potential range of lengths, it seems unsafe to 
put too much reliance on this figure. 

Table la shows that the annual trade in skins of B. murlnus declined from a 
the high levels in 1980 and 1981 to about a third of the peak volume in 1985. 
The reason for the temporary decline in 1983 Is not known. It could be 
associated with a decline in the demand for reptile skins reported by some 
dealers (A. Sarkissian, in lltt., 27 January 1986); or with protection 
measures In the countries of origin. 

The numbers of E. murlnus traded live (Table lb) are insignificant compared 
with the numbers of skins in trade. The small quantities suggest either that 
the pet trade is very limited or that most of them are destined for zoological 
collections. 

The reported countries of origin of the skins are shown in Table 2a. The great 
majority of skins are reported to have originated in Paraguay, a country In 
which there are very few records of E. murlnus. It is possible that these 
skins, and those reported as originating in Argentina, were mistakenly 
identified Bunectes notaeus skins, but Independent evidence (Acevedo Gomez, 
1987) confirms that substantial quantities of B. murlnus are exported from 
Paraguay, and so it seems likely that they are yet another example of the vast 
illegal trade in wildlife skins which pours across Brazil's southern border. 
There has been a much smaller number of skins reported as originating In 
Brazil itself, which has a ban on all trade in wildlife. Skins originating in 
Colombia made a significant contribution to the world volume of trade in 1983 
In spite of the fact that exports are Illegal. Bolivia and Guyana were major 
suppliers in 1984 and 1985. Skins reported as originating in Indonesia, 
Thailand and Nigeria are probably species of Python. Those from the other 

234 



I 



Kunectes nurlnus 

unacceptable countries of origin probably represent re-exports not specified 
as such. Panama, the source of about a quarter of the world's supply of 
E. muTinus skins in 1983, is noteworthy as it is Icnown to be a major 
entrepot for wildlife products from South America (Vallester, 1978). The 
major consignment from Singapore in 198S may also have been a re-export. 



Table la. Minimum net commercial imports of E. murlnus sicins reported to 
CITES . 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Austria 




6984 












Brasil 




- 


- 


82 


- 


- 


- 


Canada 




- 


2 


- 


1 


- 


- 






- 


29 m 


36 m 


_ 


- 


- 


France 




- 


- 


54 


2 


2645 


- 






- 


2 m 


- 


12 m 


- 


- 


Germany, 


F.R. 


- 


- 


- 


3 


- 


- 






- 


- 


- 


250 m 


- 


- 


Hong Kon 


g 


- 


- 


- 


- 


2 


- 


Israel 




215 m 


89 m 


- 


- 


1 


- 


Italy 




675 


500 


942 


5621 


- 


- 






- 


1300 m 


6778 m 


4850 m 


11053 m 


- 






110 kg 


1739 m^ 


- 


- 


- 


- 


Japan 




- 


- 


- 


- 


- 


4000 


Mexico 




- 


- 


158 


- 


- 


- 






- 


- 


22 m 


- 


- 


- 






- 


- 


120 kg 


- 


- 


1 kg 


New Zeal 


and 


- 


- 


1 


- 


- 


- 


South Af 


rica 


818 


- 


- 


- 


- 


- 


Spain 




- 


- 


- 


39 m 


- 


- 


Sweden 




- 


- 


- 


- 


1 


- 


Turkey 




- 


- 


- 


20 


- 


- 


UK 




1443 m 


- 


- 


- 


- 


- 


USA 




11717 


17730 


4188 


36 


12938 


4559 






14041 m 


23765 m 


8029 m 


632 m 


2353 m 


1500 m 






- 


- 


1010 kg 


- 


- 


119 kg 


Total 




20194 


18232 


5425 


5683 


15587 


8559 






15699 m 


25185 m 


14865 m 


5783 m 


13406 m 


1500 m 






110 kg 


1739 m^ 


1130 kg 


— 


— 


120 kg 



235 



Bunectes murinus 

Table lb. Minimum net commercial imports of live E. murinus reported to CITES 





1980 


1981 


1982 


1983 


1984 


1985 


Australia 










_ 


2 


Austria 


6 


1 


- 


- 


2 


- 


Belgium 


- 


2 


- 


- 


- 


- 


Canada 


7 


- 


- 


5 


9 


10 


Czechoslovakia 


- 


- 


- 


1 


- 


- 


Denmark 


2 


- 


- 


- 


1 


1 


Dominican Rep 


2 


- 


- 


- 


- 


- 


Germany, F.R. 


39 


35 


26 


24 


3 


70 


Hungary 


- 


3 


- 


- 


- 


- 


Indonesia 


- 


- 


- 


3 


- 


- 


Israel 


_ 


_ 


- 


- 


- 


1 


Italy 


7 


- 


2 


17 


- 


4 


Japan 


2 


11 


5 


15 


13 


4 


Korea, Rep of 


- 


- 


- 


- 


1 


1 


Mexico 


2 


- 


- 


- 


- 


- 


Netherlands 


- 


_ 


- 


2 


12 


52 


Poland 


- 


- 


7 


6 


- 


- 


Singapore 


- 


2 


- 


- 


3 


- 


South Africa 


- 


2 


- 


- 


2 


- 


Spain 


- 


1 


- 


- 


1 


- 


Sweden 


- 


_ 


- 


- 


2 


1 


Switzerland 


2 


3 


4 


3 


2 


10 


Trinidad & Tobag 





- 


- 


- 


2 


- 


UAE 


- 


- 


2 


- 


- 


- 


UK 


24 


11 


20 


18 


19 


2 


USA 


255 


137 


110 


214 


287 


152 


Unknown 


- 


3 


- 


- 


- 


- 



Total 



348 



211 



176 



308 



359 



310 



Table 2a Reported countries of origin or export for commercial exports of 
skins of E. murinus reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Countries 


with 


wild popul 


ations 


of E. 


murinus 














Bolivia 




1 


- 




- 




_ 




1101 




20 








_ 


_ 




_ 




- 




6300 


m 


- 




Brazil 




1114 


459 




99 


kg 


2 


H 


- 




166 








872 m 


1650 


m 


607 


m 


585 


m 


- 




- 








- 


500 


m^ 


- 




- 




- 




1 


kg 


Colombia 




- 


1 




1 




2500 




- 




- 




Guyana 




- 


- 




- 




1888 




4365 




2100 








_ 


- 




- 




- 




6000 


m 


- 




Paraguay 




6730 


11394 




4438 




1266 




11014 




2011 








8091 m 


5289 


m 


8264 


m 


2228 


m 


1407 


m 


1500 


m 






- 


250 


m^ 


- 




- 




- 




120 


kg 


Peru 




6710 


- 




158 




- 




- 




- 








- 


4749 


m 


21 


kg 


3 


kg 


- 




- 




Suriname 




110 kg 


- 




- 




- 




- 




- 




Trinidad 


& Tobago - 


1 




- 




- 




- 




- 





236 



Table 2a continued 



Bunectes imirlnus 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Countries without wild populations of S'. murlnus 



Argentina 


S639 


5678 


739 




_ 


- 




499 m 


8069 m 


1579 


in 


- 


- 




_ 


989 m^ 


_ 




_ 


_ 


Belgium 


- 


- 


- 




- 


200 


Canada 


- 


_ 


1 




_ 


_ 


Indonesia 


- 


636 


_ 




_ 


2 


Netherlands 


168 


- 


_ 




- 


- 




6215 m 


- 


_ 




_ 


_ 


Nigeria 


1 


- 


246 




~ 


- 


Panaina 


- 


- 


- 




3794 in 


- 


Singapore 


- 


- 


- 




- 


- 


Spain 


136 


1052 m 


- 




- 


_ 


Thailand 


228 


- 


- 




_ 


_ 




22 m 


- 


- 




- 


- 


USA 


- 


- 


2294 




- 


- 




- 


- 


4450 


m 


- 


- 


Unlcnown 


8992 


2357 


1130 


H 


28 


1627 




1056 m 


6026 m 


550 


m 


12 m 


946 m 



825 



4000 



Table 2b. Reported countries of origin or export for commercial exports of 
live E. murlnus reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Countries with wild populations of B. muzlnus 



Bolivia 


2 


1 


- 


French Guiana 


- 


3 


1 


Guyana 


346 


202 


139 


Paraguay 


6 


- 


- 


Peru 


- 


1 


- 


Suriname 


- 


2 


35 


Venezuela 


- 


- 


- 



219 



88 



232 



122 
4 



213 



97 



Countries without wild populations of B. murlnus 

- 2 4 

- 3 - 



Canada 

Finland 

France 

Guatemala 

Haiti 

Honduras 

USA 

Unlcnown 



3 
2 

8 

35 



2 

11 
25 



237 



Bunectes murlnus 

COWSKRVATIOW HRASURKS The legal protection status of B. murlnus in 
various countries throughout its range is summarised in Table 3. On the basis 
of this information it appears that the species is protected in most of the 
major supplying countries: Paraguay, Argentina, Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil, 
Peru and Panama. Furthermore the species does not occur in Argentina or 
Panama, and is extremely rare in Paraguay, indicating that the skins were 
acquired elsewhere. None of these countries should therefore have been 
acceptable to the CITES Management Authorities who granted import licences for 
the skins. The emergence of Guyana as a major source of skins in 1983 and 1984 
is disturbing as E. murlnus is not protected there. While it is possible 
that the skins were acquired within the country it is also possible that they 
derived from illegal imports from Brazil, as is the case with other wildlife 
products. The Brazilian authorities have already begun action to curb the 
poaching and illegal traffic in the South of the country, but the problem is 
so vast that little improvement is yet apparent (Hyman, 1985). 

Table 3. Legal prohibition on the hunting, internal trade and commercial 
export of E. murlnus. Dates are those on which the legislation came into 
force. A - All live animals & parts; P - Allowed under permit; « - these 
territories are Overseas D^partements of France with which the EEC may trade 
without the imposition of CITES controls (Fuller et aJ . , 1987). 



CITES 



Hunting 



Trade 



Export 



Bolivia 


1979 


A 


1979 


A 


1979 


A 


1979 


Brazil 


1975 


A 


1967 


A 


1967 


A 


1967 


Colombia 


1981 


A 


1973 


A 


1973 


A 


1973 


Ecuador 


1975 


_ 




_ 




A 


1981 


Fr . Guiana 


1978 « 


- 




A 


1986 


A 


1986 


Guyana 


1977 


_ 




- 




A 


1986 + 


Paraguay 


1977 


- 




A 


1975 


A 


1975 ++ 


Peru 


1975 


A 


1973 


A 


1973 


A 


1973 


Suriname 


1981 


- 




- 




P 




Venezuela 


1978 


A 


1970 


A 


1970 


A 


1970 



•)- Export quotas of 600 live B. constrictor and 500 skins were suggested 
for 1987 and 1988. 

++ On 17 February 1986, Decree 13806 allowed the export of 50 000 pairs of 

shoes made from B. constrictor and Bunectes spp. over the period of one 

year. The ban on hunting was also relaxed for this purpose. A further 

decree. No. 19815 of 6 February 1987, extended this dispensation for a further 
year without specifying the number of shoes. 



CAPTIVE BRKKDING 



E. murlnus 
a pet. It 



collections and as 

temperament and to strike readily (Emsley, 1977) 



is regularly 
is reported to 



kept both in zoological 
be relatively aggressive in 



An international survey of 260 zoological collections in 1985 (Slavens, 1985) 
revealed a total of 48 animals kept in 15 different collections. Breeding was 
not reported in 1985, although it had occurred in previous years. 

REFERENCES 

Acevedo Gomez, C. (1987). Especies de fauna amenezadas por comercio en el 

Paraguay. Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganaderia, Paraguay, Unpublished. 
Anon. (1982). Plan de Manejo, Parque Naclonal Cerro Cora. Ministerio de 

Agricultura y Ganaderia, Asuncion, 79 pp. 



238 



Bunoctes muzlnus 

Anon. (1984). A perception of the issue of high trade-volume. Unpublished 

report prepared for CITES by the Wildlife Trade Monitoring Unit, lUCN. 
Belloumini, H.E., Veinert, T., Dissman, F., Hoge , A.R. and Penha, A.M. 

(1976/77). Notas biologicas a respeito do genero Eunectes Wagler, 1830 

'sucuris' (Serpentes: Boinae). Memorlas do Institute Butantan 40/41: 

79-115. 
Best, R.C. (1984). The aquatic mamamals and reptiles of the Amazon. In: Sioli, 

H. (ed), The Amazon. Limnology and landscape ecology of a mighty tropical 

river and Its basin. Dr W. Junk., Netherlands, pp. 371-412. 
Deschanel, J. P. (1978). Reproduction of anacondas. International Zoo 

Yearbook 18: 98-99. 
Dixon, J.R. (1979). Origin and distribution of reptiles in lowland tropical 

rainforests of South America. In: Duellman, W.E. (ed.) The South American 

herpetof auna: its origin, evolution, and dispersal. Museum of Natural 

History, University of Kansas, Monograph (7): 217-240. 
Dixon, J.R. and Soini, P. (1986). The reptiles of the Upper Amazon Basin, 

Iqultos Region, Peru. Part 1 Lizards and Amphlsbaenlans . Part 2 

Crocodlllans , Turtles and Snakes. Milwaukee Public Museum, 154 pp. 
Emsley, H. (1977). Snakes and Trinidad and Tobago. Bulletin of the Maryland 

Herpetologlcal Society 13(4): 201-304. 
Freiberg, M. (1982). Snakes of South America. T.H.F. Publications, Neptune, 

New Jersey, 198 pp. 
Fuller, K.S., Swift, B., Jorgensen, A. and Brautigam, A. (1987). Latin 

American wildlife trade laws. Second Edition (Revised). World Wildlife 

Fund-US, 418 pp. 
Gasc, J. -P. and Rodrigues, M.T. (1980). Liste pr^liminaire des serpents de la 

Guyane fran?aise. Bulletin du Museum National d'Hlstolre Naturelle, 

Paris, 4e Serle, Section A (Zoologle) 2(2): 559-598. 
Hardy, J.D. (1982). Biogecgraphy of Tobago, West Indies, with special 

reference to amphibians and reptiles: a review. Bulletin of the Maryland 

Herpetologlcal Society 18(2): 37-142. 
Holmstrom, W. (1982). Life history notes, Serpentes. Herpetologlcal Review 

13(4): 126. 
Holstrom (sic), W.F. (1980). Observations o.n the reproduction of the Common 

Anaconda, Eunectes murlnus, at the New York Zoological Park.. 

Herpetologlcal Review 11(2): 32-33. 
Hoogmoed, M.S. (1979). The herpetofauna of the Guianan region. In: Duellman, 

W.E. (ed.) The South American herpetofauna: its origin, evolution, and 

dispersal. Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas, Monograph 

(7): 241-280. 
Hoogmoed, M.S. (1982a). Regional reports: Suriname. Proceedings of the 

lUCN/SSC Snake Group. First Meeting, Madras, p. 12. 
Hoogmoed, M.S. (1982b). Snakes of the Guianan region. Memorlas do Institute 

Butantan 46: 219-254. 
Hyman, R. (1985). Brazil wages war on poachers. Intenatlonal Wildlife 

(Jan/Feb): 5-11. 
Miyata, K. (1982). A checklist of the reptiles of Ecuador with a bibliography 

of Ecuadorean herpetology. Smithsonian Herpetologlcal Information 

Service No. 54: 1-70. 
Peters, J. A. and Orejas-Miranda, B. (1970). Catalogue of the Neotropical 

Squamata; Part 1, Snakes. Bulletin of the U.S. National Museum 297(1): 

1-347. 
Pope, C.H. (1962). The giant snakes. Routledge and Keegan Paul, London, 297 

PP- 
Rivero-Blanco, C. and Dixon, J.R. (1979). Origin and distribution of the 
herpetofauna of the dry lowland regions of northern South America. In: 
Duellman, W.E. (ed.) The South American herpetofauna: its origin, 
evolution, and dispersal. Museum of Natural History, University of 
Kansas, Monograph (7): 281-298. 

239 



Bun&ctes jnurinus 

Roze, J. (1966). La taxonomia y zoogeografia de los ofidos en Venezuela. Ed. 
Blbl . 28 Col. Clenc. Biol. 3: 1-362. 

Slavens, F.L. (1985). Inventory of live reptiles and amphibians in captivity 
current January 1, 1985. F.L. Slavens, Seattle, Washington, 341 pp. 

Vallester, E. (1978). Informe de Panama sobre la situacion de la fauna 
silvestre. In: Morales, R. , MacFarland, C. , Incer, J. and Hobbs, A. (eds), 
Primera Reunion Regional Centroamerlcana Sobre Vlda Silvestre. Centro 
Agronomico Tropical de Investigacion y Ensenanza, Turrialba, Costa Rica, 
pp. 43-64. 

Veinert, T. and Belloumini, H.E. (1980/81). Observacoes do comportamento e da 
copula heterologa da sucuris em cativiero - Eunectes nurlnus mutlnus 
(Linnaeus) e Eunectes notaeus Cope, 1862. Memorlas do Instltuto 
Butantan 44/45: 391-402. 



240 



YELLOW AKACONDA 

Bunectes notaeus Cope, 1862 

Order SERPENTES 



Recommended list: 2 
[Possible problem] 



Family BOIDAE 



SUWWAHT AND CONCLUSIONS Distributed in large rivers and swamps in 
sub-tropical South America, from Bolivia to Argentina. Primarily aquatic, 
growing to a maximum length of 4 m. Very little is known about its ecology or 
population size. 

Apart from limited trade in live specimens, probably for zoological 
collections, the main trade is in slcins, mostly declared as originating in 
Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina. The volume of this trade appears to have 
increased dramatically since 1980 to some 37 000 slcins in 1984. 

The data available are insufficient to set sustainable hunting rates, but the 
species is protected in its main countries of origin. With the exception of a 
few slcins from Bolivia, all exports should not have been accepted by the 
importing countries, but this requirement appears to have been ignored. The 
main importing countries are the USA, France and Italy. From 1985 onwards the 
species has been protected in all the source countries. 

DISTRIBUTION Found in sub-tropical South America, from Bolivia to northern 
Argentina. 

Argentina Confined to the north-east, in the Chaco, Corrientes and Santiago 

del Estero (Gallardo, 1977; Freiberg, 1982). 

Bolivia Present (Peters and Orejas-Miranda, 1970). 

Brazil Confined to the south-west of the country (Freiberg, 1982). 

Paraguay Present (Peters and Orejas-Miranda, 1970). 

Uruguay Present (Peters and Orejas-Miranda, 1970). 

POPULATION There is no information on the status of populations in any of 
the source countries. 

HABITAT AND KCOLOGY Eunectes notaeus is similar in habits to Eunectes 

muzlnus, being largely aquatic, and inhabiting large rivers and swamps. It is 

smaller, usually between 2 m and 3 m in length, with a maximum of 4 m 
(Freiberg, 1982). 

There is little information on the growth rate, but 37 young were born at New 
York Zoological Park at lengths of 535-780 mm (mean 639 mm), weighing 95-180 g 
(mean 137 g) . At two years of age they had grown to an average length of 
1.78 m, weighing 2.6 kg (Holmstrom, 1981). A male B. notaeus at Sao Paulo 
Zoo grew from 2.00 m (5.0 kg) to 2.25 m (9.0 kg) in four years (Veinart and 
Belloumini, 1980/81). 

Like all New World boids, E. notaeus is ovoviviparous . Broods of 6 to 13 
have been reported (Belloumini et al . , 1976/77; Holmstrom, 1981). Gestation 
appears to take from four to six months, and at New York Zoological Park, 
births occurred from April to October (Holmstrom, 1981; Holmstrom, 1982). One 



241 



Bunectes notaeus 

of the males in this collection began courtship at an age of 21 months 
(Holmstrom, 1981), and a female gave birth at four years, two months of age 
(Holmstrom, 1982). The oldest female gave birth to three broods, totalling 31 
offspring, in successive years with 13-month intervals between each birth 
(Holmstrom, 1981). In captivity, heterologous mating between E. notaeus and 
Eunectes murlnus has been recorded, though no young were produced (Veinert 
and Belloumini, 1980/81). 

Prey is killed by constriction, and is thought to consist of mammals and 
reptiles. Young snalces born in a Zoo did not start feeding until one to four 
months after birth (Holmstrom, 1981). 

THRSATS TO SURVTVAL E. notaeus is hunted chiefly for its skin, and also 
occasionally for meat. It is reputed to have the best flavour of all boids 
(Gallardo, 1977) . 

Paraguay Scott (In lltt., 2 April 1982) asserted that it was not hunted 
much in Paraguay. The habitat where it is found, along the large rivers in 
eastern Paraguay, is rapidly being settled. Figures compiled by the 
Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganaderia (Acevedo Gomez, 1987) showed that some 
10 000 skins of E. notaeus were exported from Paraguay in 1984. 



Table la 
CITES. 



Minimum net commercial imports of E. notaeus skins reported to 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Australia 
Canada 
France 
Germany, F.R. 

Hong Kong 
Italy 

Japan 

Korea, Rep of 

Mexico 

New Zealand 

Panama 

Peru 

Singapore 

Spain 

Switzerland 

Turkey 

UK 

USA 



Venezuela 
Unknown 



58 
950 m^ 



526 



891 



2768 
3000 m 

123 



13 



7 
289 

236 



42 m 



52 


37 


2 m 


12177 


122 


- 


3 


- 


8260 m 


6376 



24 



4 kg 



2466 
253 



- 




539 


603 


1 m' 


- 


- 




20 


- 


1 


- 


- 




1317 


- 


_ 


- 


- 




1 


4375 


- 


- 


1380 




_ 


_ 


_ 


- 




2 


34 


- 


4 


- 




- 


13 


- 


- 


5000 


m 


- 


_ 


75 m 


- 


1721 




13973 


- 


18113 


14712 


6226 


m 


34851 m 


1721 m 


2702 m 


2389 m 



13 m' 



Total 



1476 


6009 


16384 


5205 


30352 


17435 


- 


14226 m 


34893 m 


9983 m 


9153 m 


2389 m 


950 m^ 


_ 


_ 


1 m2 


13 m2 


964 m 



4 kg 



242 



Bunectes notaeus 

Table lb. Minimum net commercial imports of live E. nocaeus reported to 
CITES . 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Belgium 


- 


- 


- 


_ 


Canada 


1 


2 


- 


- 


Czechoslovakia 


- 


1 


- 


- 


Denmark. 


- 


2 


- 


- 


France 


- 


3 


- 


- 


German D.R. 


2 


_ 


8 


2 


Germany, F.R. 


40 


3 


10 


3 


Hungary 


- 


2 


- 


- 


Italy 


2 


- 


- 


3 


Japan 


- 


2 


- 


- 


Netherlands 


- 


- 


- 


- 


Poland 


- 


- 


_ 


4 


Switzerland 


7 


- 


- 


- 


UK 


- 


6 


10 


- 


USA 


9 


47 


2 


13 


USSR 


- 


- 


- 


- 



23 
2 



Total 



61 



68 



30 



25 



25 



24 



IWTKRKATIONAL TRADE The only reports of international trade in B. notaeus 
are those contained in the Annual Reports of Parties to CITES. Only trade in 
live animals and skins was considered. The CITES reports are summarised in 
Tables 1 and 2. Trade in skins was sometimes recorded by length. It is 
notoriously difficult to convert this into numbers of skins, as it depends on 
the size of the snakes killed and on the method of preparation of the skin, 
however an average skin length of 1.4 m has been suggested (Anon., 1984). It 
must be stressed that with a snake which shows such a potential range of 
lengths, it seems unsafe to put too much reliance on. this figure. 

The minimum net trade in skins of B. notaeus '(Table la) has increased from 
comparatively low levels in 1980 to about 37 000 in 1984 but declined again in 
1985. This pattern differs significantly from the trade in skins of 
B. murlnus, which has been declining slightly since 3980. It is possible 
that, as the supply of B. murlnus skins has been curtailed, the trade has 
switched to E. notaeus. The chief importing countries appear to be the USA, 
F.R. Germany, Italy and the UK. 

The trade in live animals (Table lb) has been minimal, and is probably mostly 
connected with zoological collections. 

The great majority of skins were declared as originating in Paraguay, 
Argentina and Bolivia, and, for once, there is no real reason to doubt this, 
as the species occurs in all of these countries. However it seems likely that 
a certain number of skins will have originated in neighbouring Pantanal of 
Brazil and have entered Paraguay along with the other illegal traffic in 
wildlife products. Small numbers of skins were declared as originating in 
Brazil and Uruguay. Among the countries of origin not having wild populations 
of E. notaeus, the majority probably represent re-exports without the 
country of origin having been specified, or of captive-bred specimens not 
reported as such. Skins originating in Indonesia and Thailand were possibly of 
another species of snake. Python sp., for instance. In 1982 and 1983, Peru 



243 



BurtBctes notaeus 

Table 2a. Reported countries of origin or export for coiinnercial exports of 
skins of E. notaeus reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Countries with wild populations of E. notaeus 

Argentina 4 

Bolivia 



Brazil 
Paraguay 



420 



Uruguay 

Countries without wild populations of E. notaeus 



Colombia 

France 

Guyana - 

Indonesia - 

Netherlands 1472 

Panama 

Peru - 

South Africa 

Thailand 

Unknown 



- 


- 


363 




8844 




2596 


200 m^ 


_ 


7466 


m 


6376 


m 


1486 m 


1 


_ 


_ 




13489 




2950 


_ 


_ 


- 




- 




886 in 


28 


45 


396 




- 




- 


2424 


14526 


9888 




11368 




11157 


9482 m 


33871 m 


2551 


m 


2590 


m 


- 


750 m^ 


- 


7 


kg 


4 


kg 


- 


_ 


- 


61 




- 




- 



_ 


- 


- 




185 m 


- 


_ 


1022 m 


- 




- 


- 


2 


_ 


_ 




645 


- 


_ 


- 


60 




- 


- 


35 


- 


33 


kg 


- 


- 


_ 


- 


- 




190 


2244 


_ 


7802 m 


1075 




746 


544 


_ 


- 


- 




60 


1 


_ 


_ 


319 




165 


- 


3866 


2211 


228 




- 


50 


6244 m 


42 m 


27 


m 


- 


17 m 



13 m^ 



Table 2b. Reported countries of origin or export for commercial exports of. 
live E. notaeus reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Countries with wild populations of E. notaeus 
Paraguay 61 59 2 
Countries without wild populations of E. notaeus 



Austria 


- 


Canada 


_ 


Czechoslovaia 


- 


Germany, F.R. 


- 


Guyana 


- 


Suriname 


- 


Switzerland 


7 


USA 


6 


Unknown 


7 



8 
10 



10 
6 
2 



14 



19 

2 
2 



18 
7 
2 



244 



Bimectes notaeus 

was declared as the origin of large quantities of skins, although E. notaeus 
does not occur in the country. These skins must therefore either have been 
imported from elsewhere or have been misidentif ied skins of E. murlnus. 
There is no evidence to suggest which of these two explanations is the more 
likely. 

COWSKRVATIOW MKASURKS The legal protection status of B. notaeus in 
various countries throughout its range is summarised in Table 3. The species 
receives nominal protection in all its potential countries of origin, and all 
exports of skins, except for skins from Bolivia (Table 2a), have therefore 
been illegal. It is difficult to understand why such trade in the skins of 
E. notaeus has been sanctioned by importing CITES Management Authorities. 
Since August 1985, when Bolivia banned the export of wildlife products, there 
have been no legal sources of skins of this species. 

Table 3 Legal prohibition on the hunting, internal trade and commercial 
export of E. notaeus. Dates are those on which the legislation came into 
force. A - All live animals & parts; L - Live animals only; S - Skins; 
P - Allowed under permit; C - Closed seasons may be imposed; ? - no 
information (Fuller et al . , 1987). 



CITES 



Hunting 



Trade 



Export 



Argentina 

Bolivia 

Brazil 

Paraguay 

Uruguay 



1981 


A 1983 


A 1983 


A 1986 


1979 


_ 


S 1979 


L 1984 + 


1975 


- 


A 1967 


A 1967 


1977 


A 1975 


A 1975 


A 1975 ++ 


1975 


A 1978 


A 1978 


A 1978 



-t- all wildlife exports have been banned since August 1985. 

++ On 17 February 1986, Decree 13806 allowed the export of 50 000 pairs of 
shoes made from B. constrictor and Bunectes spp. over the period of one 
year. The ban on hunting was also relaxed for this purpose. A further 
decree, No. 19815 of 6 February 1987, extended this dispensation for <i further 
year without specifying the number of shoes. 



CAPTIVE BREEDING 



B. notaeus is regularly kept in zoological collections, 
zoological collections in 1985 (Slavens, 1985) revealed a 



A survey of 260 

total of 61 animals kept in 18 different collections. Breeding was reported in 

two collections, a total of 20 live being born. 



RBFERKWCES 

Acevedo Gomez, C. (1987). Especies de fauna amenezadas por comercio en el 

Paraguay. Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganaderia, Paraguay, Unpublished. 
Anon. (1984). A perception of the issue of high trade-volume. Unpublished 

report prepared for CITES by the Wildlife Trade Monitoring Unit, lUCN. 
Belloumini, H.E., Veinert, T. , Dissman, F. , Hoge, A.R. and Penha, A.M. 

(1976/77). Notas biologicas a respeito do genero Bunectes Wagler, 1830 

'sucuris* (Serpentes: Boinae). Hemorlas do Instltuto Butantan AO/41: 

79-115. 
Freiberg, M. (1982). Snakes of South America. T.H.F. Publications, Neptune, 

New Jersey, 198 pp. 
Fuller, K.S., Swift, B., Jorgensen, A. and Brautigam, A. (1987). Latin 

American wildlife trade laws, Second Edition (Revised). World Wildlife 

Fund-US, 418 pp. 
Gallardo, J.M. (1977). Reptiles de los alrededores de Buenos Aires. 

Editorial Universitaria de Buenos Aires, 213 pp. 



245 



Bunectes notaeus 

Holmstrom, W.F. (1981). Observations on the reproduction of the Yellow 

Anaconda Eimectes notaeus. International Zoo Yearbook 21: 92-94. 
Holmstrom, W. (1982). Life history notes, Serpentes. Herpetologlcal Review 

13(4): 126. 
Peters, J. A. and Orejas-Miranda, B. (1970). Catalogue of the Neotropical 

Squamata; Part 1, Snakes. Bulletin of the U.S. National Museum 297(1): 

1-347. 
Slavens, F.L. (1985). Inventory of live reptiles and amphibians In captivity 

current Janueiry 1, 198S . F.L. Slavens, Seattle, Washington, 341 pp. 
Veinert, T. and Belloumini, H.E. (1980/81). Observacoes do comportamento e da 

copula heterologa da sucurls em cativiero - Bunectes murlnus murlnus 

(Linnaeus) e Bunectes notaeus Cope, 1862. Memorlas do Instltuto 

Butantan 44/45: 391-402. 



246 



BLOOD PYTHON, SHORT PYTHON 
Python curtus Schlegel, 1872 
Order SERPBNTBS 



Recononended list: 2 
[Possible problem] 



Family BOIDAE 



SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS A small South East Asian python, restricted to the 
southern half of the Malay Peninsula, Banglca, Borneo and Sumatra; seemingly 
local in distribution. Variously regarded as rare or moderately common, 
although no population surveys are available. Consistently reported much 
rarer than Python retlculatus. Said to prefer swamp forest or heavy jungle 
along watercourses, also occurs in secondary growth. Nocturnal, often enters 
water, feeds on small vertebrates. Clutch of 10-15 eggs is much smaller than 
in congeneric species. Possibly threatened by habitat changes, although no 
substantiating data are available; more likely to be threatened by 
over-exploitation. 

The volume of the skin trade as shown by CITES reports increased sharply from 
935 in 1980 to some 58 500 in 1985. The USA, Italy, Japan and Canada were the 
main importers. Most of the skins originated in Indonesia. The volume of 
trade in live animals declined from 359 in 1980 to only 43 in 1985. This rise 
in international skin trade may perhaps in part be attributed to legislation 
affecting other exploited species. 

It seems possible that this size of harvest may not be sustainable in the long 
term, particularly as it appears to be increasing rapidly; a prime requirement 
is to obtain relevant data on population levels, distribution, and the effects 
of trade, with a view to appropriate management. Such data are required most 
urgently for Indonesia, the reported origin of the great majority of animals 
in the skin trade. 



DISTRIBUTION A South East Asian species, with a somewhat more restricted 
distribution than other Python in the region. Present in the southern half 
of the Malay Peninsula and certain islands of the Indo-Australian 
archipelago. As noted below, the species appears to be largely confined to 
swamp forest and heavy jungle along watercourses, and is thus likely to be 
sporadically distributed within its general range. 

Brunei Almost certainly present, but no specific records are at hand. 

Indonesia Restricted to Bangka, Sumatra and Kalimantan (De Haas, 1950, De 
Rooij, 1917). 

Malaysia Recorded from Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah, and Sarawak; seemingly 
widely distributed but local (Tweedie, 1983; Malaysia, Sabah CITES MA, 1985). 

Singapore First recorded from Singapore by Blandford, reporting in 1881 on 
a collection made by Dennys. This record (of a single specimen) seems to be 
the basis for reports of curtus from Singapore made by later authors (such 
as Ridley, 1899; Flower, 1899; Boulenger, 1912), none of whom appear to have 
had first hand experience of the species in that country. Sworder (1922), in 
an annotated list of Singapore snakes, calls into question the accuracy of 
locality data for many specimens in the Dennys collection; thus there may be 
an element of doubt over the occurrence of the species in Singapore. However, 
although no later authentic records can be traced, and recent information is 
that curtus is not in fact present (P. Gopalakrishnakone, in lltt., 13 
March 1986), the species may have occurred in Singapore in the past. 



Thailand Restricted to 
1965; Soderberg, 1965). 



Changwat Pattani in the extreme southeast (Taylor, 



247 



Python curtus 

Ti«t Nan Two specimens were reported from near Saigon, southern Viet Nam, 
by Tirant in 188S. His identification seems justified by the description 
provided (Campden-Hain, 1970), but the distinct possibility has been raised 
that these were introduced by man - there is an active trade in pythons and 
other large snakes in the region (Saint Girons, 1972). There have been no 
subsequent records from Viet Nam, but if the natural range does extend this 
far to the northeast the species might be expected to occur in Kampuchea 
also although it does not appear to have been recorded (Saint Girons, 1972). 

POPULATION No detailed information is available on populations of 
P. curtus anywhere in its range, nor on population trends or the effects of 
exploitation. The species is generally reported to be less common than 
Python retlculatus in the region. 

Brunei No information. 

Indonesia No information. 

Malaysia Reported not rare in the peninsula at the turn of the century 
(Ridley, 1899), and not uncommon in peninsular Malaysia in the 1950s (Tweedie, 
1983). At Asahan in Malacca, only one P. curtus was seen during a period of 
three and a half years, while P. retlculatus was said to be very common 
(Batchelor, 1958). Among the snalces regularly brought to the University at 
Bangi, Selangor, there is perhaps one curtus to every eight to ten 
retlculatus (G. Davison, In lltt., 22 February 1986). In general, not 
commonly encountered in peninsular Malaysia, but widespread and not heavily 
exploited (S. Ambu, in lltt., 17 February 1986). Here, also said to be not 
frequently seen, but not marlcedly uncommon either; the relative frequency of 
curtus to retlculatus is about 1:100 (B. Kiew, in lltt., 25 February 
1986). 

Said to be much rarer than Python retlculatus (common) in Borneo in the 
early years of this century; this report apparently refers to Sarawak in 
particular (Shelford, 1916). No curtus were found during long-term 
herpetological sampling at three primary rainforest sites in Sarawak in 
1962-64 and 1984 (R.F. Inger, in lltt., 5 March 1985), and none were seen by 
another fieldworker (working on rainforest lizards) (H. Watson, in lltt., 17 
March 1986). Similarly, reported less common and less widespread than P. 
retlculatus in Sabah, but suitable habitat is found through most of the 
country (Malaysia, Sabah CITES MA, 1985). 

Singapore No information (see Distribution section above). 

Thailand Cited as rare within its very restricted range (Soderberg. 1965). 

HABITAT AND ECOLOGY A relatively small and very stout-bodied python, 
reaching about 2.75 m total length. Preferred habitat variously cited as 
swampy country (De Rooij, 1917), swamp forest (Bain and Humphrey, 1982), and 
heavy jungle along watercourses (Reitinger, 1978). In West Malaysia 
P. curtus has been found in the same kinds of habitat as P. retlculatus, 
such as along streams, on the forest floor, and in secondary growth. 
Nocturnal, spends much time in water, feeds on small vertebrates, reportedly 
fond of rats (Ridley, 1899; Reitinger, 1978). This last seems confirmed by 
the fact that 10 out of 11 specimens collected near Kuala Lumpur between 1948 
and 1954 were found in rat traps at an experimental trapping area at Sungei 
Buloh (Lim, 1955). An oviparous species, laying 10-15 eggs which are brooded 
by the mother until hatching (Reitinger, 1978) 

THttKATS TO SURVIVAL None adequately documented, although collection for the 
skin trade may be a serious threat (see below). Reportedly "most of" the 

248 



Python cuTtus 

preferred habitat of the species has been destroyed (Bain and Humphrey, 1982); 
it seems likely that this is intended to refer to Thailand rather than South 
East Asia in general, although this is not entirely clear. It is further 
uncertain whether mangrove forest should be regarded as P. curtus habitat as 
is implied by these authors' text, and in any case 'preferred' habitat is not 
known. The species is certainly much consumed locally, although it is not as 
popular as the much larger P. r&tlculatus (Irvine, 1954). 

Malaysia In Sabah, the Chinese community uses python meat particularly for 
soup, and occasionally the skins are used for decorative purposes. The levels 
of exploitation are thought to be low, and capture for the pet trade is 
thought to be insignificant (Sabah CITES MA, 1985). 

IWTBRKATIONAL TRADE Although P. curtus has long figured in the live 
animal trade, with many specimens being exported through Singapore (Irvine, 
1954), CITES reports indicate that a much larger number of animals are now 
used by the skin trade. 



Table la Minimum net imports of skins of P. curtus reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Austria 
Canada 
Finland 
France 
German D.R. 
Germany, F.R. 

Greece 
Italy 

Japan 

Mexico 

Netherlands 

Spain 

Switzerland 

Turkey 

UK 

USA 



Total 



89 



72 



863 



935 



- 


- 




54 


m 


- 




11750 


- 


- 




217 


m 


481 


m 


- 


76 m 


1427 




2170 


m 


_ 




- 


- 


- 




8822 


m 


- 




— 


- 


- 




2391 




655 




- 


- 


_ 




- 




118 


m 


_ 


- 


13 




71 


m 


- 




- 


2500 m^ 


13910 




4571 




2544 




- 


1440 m 


7685 


m 


15732 


m 


1455 


m 


- 


- 


22 




- 




971 


H 


7527 


- 


-. 




- 




803 


m 


- 


1189 


• 167 




_ 




58 




_ 


4001 m 


- 




1436 




1449 




- 


_ 


- 




_ 




200 




- 


_ 


222 




- 




- 




- 


14891 


3619 




4083 




9984 




11902 


_ 


3762 


m 


700 


m 


15500 


m 


27393 m 


- 


- 




- 




2 


kg 


- 


16080 


19469 




12481 




14890 




31179 


5517 m 


11447 


m 


27766 


m 


18357 


m 


27393 m 


2500 m^ 


_ 




- 




973 


kg 


- 



International trade in P. curtus was examined by means of the Annual Reports 
of Parties to CITES; only trade in live animals and skins being considered. 
The volume of the skin trade is shown in Table la. Some transactions were 
reported in terms of length, weight or area; it is difficult reliably to 
convert these to numbers of skins, but as P. curtus rarely exceeds 3 m in 
total length, the mean length of skins in trade is likely to be in the region 
of 1 m. It must be recognised that this can only lead to an approximation of 



249 



Python cuTtus 

Table lb Hinimuin net imports of live P. curtus reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Argentina 


1 




2 








Austria 


- 


- 


5 


2 


- 


1 


Canada 


1 


- 


1 


3 


6 


6 


Denmark 


4 


- 


_ 


- 


- 


- 


Germany, F.R. 


127 


40 


46 


16 


20 


10 


Hong Kong 


- 


- 


- 


- 


- 


6 


Italy 


13 


1 


8 


30 


- 


- 


Japan 


- 


- 


- 


16 


- 


- 


Mexico 


- 


- 


4 


- 


- 


- 


Neth. Antilles 


- 


- 


- 


1 


- 


- 


South Africa 


- 


- 


2 


- 


3 


- 


Spain 


- 


2 


- 


- 


- 


- 


Switzerland 


4 


- 


10 


- 


- 


- 


UAE 


- 


- 


4 


- 


- 


- 


UK 


52 


13 


17 


5 


_ 


2 


USA 


157 


128 


170 


69 


67 


18 


Total 


359 


184 


269 


142 


96 


43 



Table 2a Reported countries of origin (or exporting country if no origin 
reported) and quantities of transactions in live animals (L) and skins (S) of 
P. curtus reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Countries having or possibly having populations of P. curtus 



Indonesia 



Malaysia 
Thailand 



9256 


9256 


11568 


16708 


28090 


10517 m 


3012 m 


23948 m 


11480 m ' 


27393 m 


2500 m2 


- 


285 kg 


975 kg 


_ 


715 


_ 


- 


_ 


_ 



1642 



Countries without wild populations of P. curtus 



India 
Japan 
Singapore 

Unknown 



935 



8 
3479 
7579 

2899 



- 




- 


59 


- 


8435 


m 


1289 


272 


11359 


- 




8 m 


1514 m 


- 


24688 




906 


1642 


6 


_ 




8822 m 


22559 m 


_ 


- 




- 


975 kg 


- 



250 



Python curtus 

the number of individuals involved, but on this basis the volume of trade 
increased sharply from 935 in 1980 to 58 572 in 1985. ignoring transactions 
reported by weight or area. The USA, Italy, Japan and Canada were the main 
importers. The declared sources of the skins are given in Table 2a, from 
which it appears that Indonesia was the major supplier; it is likely that the 
large numbers recorded from Singapore also in fact originate from Indonesia. 

Table lb shows the volume of trade in live animals, which declined from 359 in 
1980 to only 43 in 1985. The great majority of live snakes originated in 
Thailand (see Table 2b), until 1984. when Malaysia emerged as the main source. 

The sudden and dramatic increase in 1981 in the number of P. curtus skins in 
international trade suggests that trade may be shifting to this species now 
that its larger congeners are nominally protected in much of their range; 
reduced availability of other Python used by the skin trade may also be a 
factor, but this cannot be established at present. No data whatsoever are 
available on population status of this species in Indonesia; this information 
is required in order to assess the likely impact of the present harvest. 

Table 2b Reported countries of origin (or exporting country if no origin 
reported) and numbers of live P. curtus reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Countries having or possibly having populations of P. curtus 



Indonesia 


1 


- 


_ 


- 


Malaysia 


7 


2 


2 


5 


Thailand 


354 


185 


279 


135 



96 



43 
6 



Countries without wild populations of P. curtus 

1 - - 



Canada 

Germany, F.R 

Ghana 

USA 

Unknown 



COWSERVATION MEASURES The species is largely unprotected by legislation; it 
does not appear on available lists of taxa covered by conservation legislation 
in Brunei. 

Indonesia Hunting quotas for 1987 were set to total 25 ODD skins, divided 
between the regions as follows: Acoh, 8000; Sumut, 13 000; Sumbar, 2000; Rlau, 
2000 (Indonesia CITES MA, 1987). 

Malaysia Not protected in Peninsular Malaysia. Sabah or Sarawak (E. 
Bennett, In lltt., 5 February 1986). 

Singapore All wild fauna in Singapore Is fully protected (Singapore Primary 
Production Department, In Jltt., 11 January 1986). 

Thailand Recently protected in Thailand under the Wild Animals Reservation 
and Protection Act B.E.2503, effective 11 November 1985. 



251 



Python curtus 

CAPTIVE BRKKDING This species has reportedly proved very difficult to 
maintain successfully in captivity (Stafford, 1982>. There were 38 captive 
specimens in 18 collections in 1984; no captive breeding recorded (Slavens, 
1985), nor in 1979-1981 (Olney, 198A). 

REFKRKWCKS 

Bain, J.R. and Humphrey, S.R. (1982). VI profile of the endangered species of 

Thailand. Report No. 4, Office of Ecological Services, Florida State 

Museum. 
Batchelor, D.H. (1958). Some notes on the snakes of Asahan, Malacca. 

Malayan Nature Journal 12(3): 103-111. 
Boulenger, G.A. (1912). A vertebrate fauna of the Malay Peninsula from the 

Isthmus of Kra to Singapore, Including the adjacent Islands. Reptilia 

and Batrachia. London. 
Campden-Main, S.M. (1970). A field guide to the snakes of South Viet Nam. 

Smithsonian Institution, Washington. 
Flower, S.S. (1899). Notes on a second collection of reptiles made in the 

Malay Peninsula and Siam. With a list of the species recorded from those 

countries. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1899: 

600-697. 
Haas, C.P.J, de (1950). Checlclist of the snakes of the Indo-Australian 

Archipelago. Treubla 20(3): 511-625. 
Irvine, F.R. (1954). Snakes as food for man. British Journal of 

Herpetology, 1(10): 183-189. 
Lim, B.L. (1955). Snakes collected near Kuala Lumpur. Malayan Nature 

Journal 9(4): 122-125. 
Olney, P.J.S. (Ed) (1984). Reptiles bred in captivity and multiple generation 

births, 1981. In, International Zoo Yearbook 23. (See also vols. 21, 

22) . 
Reitinger, F.F. (1978). Cotimon snakes of South Bast Asia and Hong Kong. 

Heinemann Educational Books (Asia) Ltd., Hong Kong, 114 pp. 
Ridley, H.N. (1899). The habits of Malay reptiles. Journal of the Straits 

Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 32: 185-210. 
Rooij, N. de (1917). The reptiles of the Indo-Australlan Archipelago, II 

Ophldla. E.J. Brill, Leiden. Reprinted 1970, A. Asher & Co. N.V., Vaals. 
Saint Girons, H. (1972). Les Serpents du Cambodge . Mentolres museum National 

d'hlstolre Naturelle, N.S., Ser. A (Zool.), 74. 
Slavens, F.L. (1985). Inventory of live reptiles and amphibians In captivity, 

current January 1, 198S . F.L. Slavens, Seattle, Washington, 341 pp. 
Shelford, R.W.C. (1916). A naturalist In Borneo. London, T. Fisher Unwin. 
Soderberg, P. (1965). The pythons of Thailand. Conservation News S.B. Asia 

5: 11-12 
Stafford, P.J. (1982). Further observations on the Blood Python in captivity 

including an effective method of inducing feeding. The Herptlle 7(1): 

21-22. 
Sworder, G.H. (1922). A list of the snakes of Singapore Island. Singapore 

Naturalist 1(2): 55-73. 
Taylor, E.H. (1965). Serpents of Thailand and adjacent waters. t/niversity 

of Kansas Science Bulletin 45(9): 609-1096. 
Tweedie, M.W.F. (1983). The snakes of Malaya (3rd edn). Singapore National 

Printers (Pte) Ltd. 



252 



INDIAN PYTHON, ROCK PYTHON 
Python molurus (Linnaeus, 1758) 
Order SERPENTES 



Recommended list: 2 
[Possible problem] 



Family BOIDAE 



SUMMARY A ND CONCLUSIONS A large and widespread South and South East Asian 
python, ranging from Pakistan, Indian, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Burma 
eastward to Hong Kong and southern China (including Hainan), and south through 
Viet Nam, Kampuchea, and Laos to Thailand, although absent from the Malay 
Peninsula. Present in Indonesia (Java, Sulawesi, Sumbawa) but reports from 
Borneo may be in error. Occurs in a variety of habitats, often rather open 
deciduous woodland, often with rock, outcrops, and typically in the vicinity of 
permanent water. Populations in the Indian sub-continent are assigned to P. 
m. molurus, those from Burma eastward to P. m. blvlttatus; the former taxon 
is listed on CITES Appendix I, the latter on Appendix II. Population 
information is sparse and anecdotal; said to be common in southern Viet Nam, 
Sri Lanka and possibly Burma, and to be depleted or locally extinct in most of 
the Indian sub-continent. No data available for most of the range of P. m. 
blvlttatus . 

Widely used for food and medicinal purposes, particularly by tribal and 
Chinese-speaking communities. The volume of the international skin trade 
appears from the CITES reports to have increased from 52 572 in 1980 to 
225 923 in 1985. Italy, France, the USA and F.R. Germany were the main 
importers and Thailand, Indonesia and Viet Nam were the major suppliers. The 
trade in live animals also showed a dramatic increase, from A873 in 1981 to 
25 255 in 1985. The USA was the major importer and the great majority of live 
snakes originated in Thailand. 

The sustainability of the recent trade cannot be objectively evaluated in the 
absence of population data; field data on population sizes and trends are 
required. It must be suspected that present trade is excessive and it appears 
to be increasing steadily. 

DISTRIBUTION Widespread in the Indo-Malayan region. Extends from the Sind 
region of Pakistan east almost throughout India and across the lowlands of 
Nepal to Bangladesh, also to Sri Lanka. From the Indian sub-continent the 
species extends through much of mainland southeast Asia, north into 
subtropical China and Hong Kong; although apparently absent from the Malay 
Peninsula, it occurs on Sulawesi, Java, and adjacent smaller islands, and has 
been reported to occur on Borneo (this may be questionable). As with Python 
curtus , P. molurus virtually always lives in the vicinity of water, and its 
actual distribution must thus be rather patchy within its overall range. 

Tazonomic note Populations centred on the Indian subcontinent are assigned 
to Python molurus molurus, Indian Python (Appendix I); populations from 
Burma (and possibly Nepal) eastwards are assigned to P. m. blvlttatus , 
Burmese Python (Appendix II). Smith (1943) states that molurus ranges east 
to Bengal (i.e. including present-day Bangladesh) and that blvlttatus occurs 
throughout the 'Indo-Chinese subregion' (in which he includes Nepal and 
north-east India); however, animals from throughout the sub-continent, 
including Nepal, are often treated as the nominate form (Stimson, 1969). The 
south-west Bangladesh population has been referred to P. m. blvlttatus (Kock 
and Schroder, 1981). Although many authorities support the use of trinomials, 
very few specimens from the supposed contact area of molurus and 
blvlttatus, in north-eastern parts of the Indian subcontinent, have been 
examined. The distinguishing features of the two taxa are perhaps more 
clearly expressed in this region than in more distant parts of the range (A. 
Stimson, pers. comm., 1986). 



253 



Python molurus 

For comparative purposes, brief information on P. m. wolarus is given in the 
Distribution and Population sections, and much of the Habitat and Ecology 
section is perforce based on the sub-continent, but this taxon is not treated 
elsewhere in this account. 

Appendix I populations: P. m. molurus 

Bangladesh Formerly widespread through all 21 districts, but now depleted 
and very restricted in distribution and largely confined to the Sunderbans and 
evergreen forests of the south-east (Khan, 1982), although the latter may have 
been P. m. blvlttatus (Kock and Schroder, 1981). 

India Ranges virtually throughout, although reportedly extirpated from many 
former localities (Whitalcer, 1978). 

Nepal No records are available from west or east Nepal, the species appears 
to be restricted to central areas (Swan and Leviton, 1962). 

Pakistan Records are restricted to Sind in the south-east, in the Indus 
delta and lower valley (Minton, 1966) mostly east of the river, northward at 
least to the Nawabshah district (Pakistan CITES MA, 1986); also in the 
Tharparkar desert area (Ghalib et al . , undated); the species may extend to 
the Punjab (cited from the Punjab area of pre-partition 'India' by Smith, 
1943) . 

Sri Lanka Occurs widely in the low country, occasionally ascending into the 
hills (De Silva, 1980) . 

Appendix II populations: P. m. blvlttatus 

Bangladesh Reported from the CHittagong region (Kock and Schroder, 1981). 

Brunei No specific records available, probably present if present at all on 
Borneo (see under Indonesia). 

Burma Records extend south to the Tavoy district (Smith, 1943). 

China Occurs in mountain forests in Fujian, Guangdong (including Hainan 
island), Guangxi, Guizhou and Yunnan (Anon., 1980). 

Hong Kong Reported from many parts of the country, most frequently from 
widely distributed sites on Hong Kong island (Romer, 1979) 

Indonesia Present on Java (and adjacent Islands east to Sumbawa) and 
Sulawesi; also reported from Borneo (de Haas, 19S0) and may thus occur in 
Kalimantan, although the species's occurrence in Borneo is doubted by one 
authority (R.F. Inger, In lltt., 5 March 1986). 

Kampuchea Widely distributed over most of the country (Saint Girons, 1972). 

Laos Reportedly found in all provinces, although more rare than 
P. retlculatus (Oeuve, 1970), and more common in the south (Lao P.D.R. 
Forest Department, In lltt., 31 January 1986). 

Malaysia There appears to be no confirmed record of the species from any 
part of Malaysia. The occasional old report exists for west Malaysia, but any 
such individuals are likely to have escaped from snake charmers (Flower, 1899; 
Tweedie, 1983). There appear to be no specific records for Sabah or Sarawak; 
although the species has been reported to occur in Borneo (Smith, 1943; de 
Haas, 1950), and might thus be expected in Sabah or Sarawak, its occurrence in 

254 



Python moluTus 
Borneo is doubted by one authority (R.F. Inger, In lltt., 5 March 1986). 

Thailand Recorded from the provinces of Raheng, Lopburi and Chonburi 
(Smith, 1943); also said to be found throughout the country, except for the 
southern provinces (Soderberg, 1965). 

Viet Nam Widespread in southern Viet Nam although absent from southern 
parts of the delta (Campden-Main , 1970); no information for the northern half 
of the country but quite probably similarly widespread. 

POPULATION Virtually all information available on population levels or 
trends is anecdotal in nature; appropriate fieldwork. is required to generate 
some quantitative data. 

Appendix I populations: P. m. molLirus 

Bangladesh Uncommon generally but common in the Sunderbans (Khan, 1982; 
Bangladesh CITES MA, 1986). Widely distributed and present in all 21 
districts about three decades ago, but due to habitat changes there have been 
only two records of sightings outside government controlled forests in the 
past decade; small populations survive in evergreen forest in the east and 
good populations remain in the Sunderbans (Khan, 1982). 

India Widely distributed but heavily exploited and locally extirpated in 
many areas (Whitaker, 1978), possibly in most of its former range, remains 
common in certain locations in Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh 
(and perhaps elsewhere) (Whitaker and Whitaker, 1983); also cited as in severe 
decline, extremely rare outside protected areas, considered a threatened 
species (Tikader, 1983). 

Nepal Regarded as an endangered species in the Kingdom, but common in the 
grasslands of Chitwan National Park, in particular at Kans and Dhadi (Dhungel, 
1985). 

Pakistan Cited as threatened (Ghalib et al . , undated). Populations have 
not yet been surveyed, but they are thought to have been very much depleted 
(Pakistan CITES MA, 1986). 

Sri Lanka Said to be one of the more common snakes of the country (Taylor, 
1950), or common in the low country (De Silva, 1980). 

Appendix II populations: P. m. blvlttatus 

Burma Pythons (sources do not distinguish between moJurus and 
retlculatus) appear to be widespread and reasonably common, although were 
becoming rare in some areas even by the early 1900s (Salter, 1983). 

China Said to be rare, except, perhaps, on Hainan (Pope, 1961). 

Hong Kong Not common anywhere in the country (Romer, 1979). One source 
(Hong Kong CITES MA, 1985) estimates a population of between 50 and 200 
individuals. 

Indonesia No information. 

Kampuchea Although not rare, not really abundant, perhaps because of 
hunting for food or commerce (Saint Girons, 1972). 

Laos Reported more rare than P. retlculatus (apparently not uncommon) 
(Deuve, 1970). Both this species and P. retlculatus are said to have 

255 



Python moluTus 

declined significantly due to local utilisation and the export trade (Lao 
P.D.R. Forest Department, in lltt., 31 January 1986). 

Malaysia No data. 

Thailand No details available. Literature records are from lowland areas, 
which in some cases may not have good snalce populations; animal dealers are 
thought still to obtain specimens (W.Y. Broclcelman, in lltt., 14 February 
1986) 

Viet Nam Common in the southern parts (Campden-Hain, 1970); no information 
for the north. 

HABITAT AND ECOLOGY A large and lethargic, heavy-bodied, diurnal and 
nocturnal snake, capable of attaining a total length of around six metres 
(18-19 ft) (although few, if any, such individuals are likely to exist at 
present). May be found in a variety of habitats, but appears to prefer wooded 
areas - ranging from evergreen forest to more open deciduous woodland; known 
localities often include rock outcrops or hollow trees used for shelter and 
nesting, and typically will include still or flowing permanent water. The 
species may also be found in the vicinity of rivers, lakes or marshy areas, 
often in open semi-arid country, and in reed beds and mangrove stands. An 
able swimmer, capable of remaining submerged for many minutes, and an able 
climber, often ascending trees to seek prey or to ambush prey while concealed 
among branches. Prey includes a wide variety of mammals, birds and reptiles. 
Although mammals as large as deer, gazelle and leopard have been taken, small 
mammals - rats in particular - appear to comprise the bulk of the diet (there 
is growing awareness of their importance as rodent control agents in 
agricultural areas). 

In India, mating occurs during December-February (the colder season); the 
clutch of 8-100 eggs, about 6 x 12 cm in size, is laid three to four months 
later, in the hot weather months of March-June. The female incubates the eggs 
which hatch around 58 days later. Hatchlings may measure near 75 cm and grow 
rapidly in their first years. Maturity is attained at around five years of 
age and a little over three metres length. Captive specimens have lived for 
22 years. 

THREATS TO SURVIVAL This species is used for food by a variety of 
indigenous peoples throughout its range (Wall, 1912), and has been exported, 
from India to China for example, for food and medicinal purposes (Irvine, 
1954). In the 1950s python meat on sale in Hong Kong was more expensive than 
beef (Irvine, 195A). Python fat and various organs are often attributed 
medicinal properties, apparently by Chinese and tribals in particular; the 
gall bladder is especially prized in parts of Burma for example (Wall, 1912). 
Local utilisation for food is unlikely to pose a serious threat, but it has 
been suggested that the extent of demand for medicinal and other purposes in 
Chinese-speaking areas should be investigated. However, the primary threat is 
exploitation for the skin trade, which appears to exist, often at an 
unsustainable level, almost throughout the range of the species. 

Bangladesh There is said to be no internal or external trade in this 
species (Bangladesh CITES HA, 1986). 

Pakistan The species was formerly ruthlessly hunted for its skin but this 
is now illegal (Pakistan CITES MA, 1986). 

INTERNATIONAL TEtADE This species has long been prominent in the live animal 
trade, being large, attractive and readily kept in captivity; captive breeding 
is also relatively straightforward. 

256 



Python moluxus 
Table la Minimum net imports of skins of P. molurus reported to CITES. 





1980 


1981 




1982 




1983 




1984 




1985 


Australia 


_ 


30 








33 










Austria 


- 


160 




47 




140 




.'^36 




150 




- 


- 




- 




14 


m 


- 




- 


Belgium 


- 


- 




- 




- 




766 




706 




- 


- 




- 




- 




248 


m 


- 


Canada 


14 


- 




102 




78 




16 




148 




- 


- 




- 




- 




58 


m 


- 


China 


839 


- 




- 




- 




- 




- 


Cyprus 


- 


- 




_ 




38 


m 


_ 




- 


Denmark 


386 


_ 




_ 




- 




- 




_ 


Egypt 


- 


- 




81 




- 




- 




- 


France 


- 


- 




- 




- 




23839 




54658 




- 


2890 


m 


- 




- 




28000 


m 


7500 m 


German D.R. 


_ 


5945 




3000 


m 


- 




- 




_ 


Germany, F.R. 


11851 


21200 




671 




5701 




6247 




6807 




_ 


_ 




_ 




_ 




37945 


m 


7603 m 




- 


- 




- 




- 




- 




80 kg 


Greece 


- 


- 




1 




96 




- 




545 


Hong Kong 


10500 m 


- 




1623 




5499 




- 




3140 


Hungary 


- 


- 




- 




50 




- 




7 


Israel 


- 


20 




15 




34 




16 




18 


Italy 


79 


5210 




13598 




22255 




7566 




62650 




12000 m 


7060 


m 


45477 


m 


180525 


m 


80226 


m 


28414 m 




_ 


52869 


m? 


- 




- 




_ 




- 


Japan 


1847 


- 




409 




5391 




4060 




18148 




- 


_ 




134 


kg 


1736 


m 


1783 


fcg 


- 


Korea, Rep. of 


- 


- 




- 




- 




189 




- 


Lebanon 


_ 


- 




- 




10 




30 




- 


Mexico 


_ 


64 




- 




- 




3333 




893 




_ 


_ 




- 




- 




396 


m 


- 


Netherlands 


_ 


_ 




_ 




1399 




726 




1394 




_ 


^ 




_ 




_ 




7000 


m 


12150 m 


New Zealand 


_ 


- 




1 




15 




115 




- 


Saudi Arabia 


- 


- 




- 




30 




3 




- 


Singapore 


- 


- 




- 




- 




5355 




- 


South Africa 


_ 


639 




1 




25 




- 




24 


Spain 


_ 


348 




83 




15 




6855 




13858 




- 


2200 


m 


- 




- 




257 


m 


- 


Sweden 


638 


- 




- 




- 




- 




- 


Switzerland 


1 


2 


m 


1523 




693 


m 


723 




- 


Taiwan 


_ 


_ 




7 




- 




1080 




450 




_ 


- 




_ 




- 




2000 


m 


- 


Turkey 


_ 


- 




- 




- 




22 




100 




_ 


_ 




_ 




- 




- 




583 ID 


UK 


10000 m 


16839 


m 


2136 




3737 


m 


5000 


m 


- 


USA 


6411 


22320 




16850 




6204 




20769 




25372 




19667 m 


32341 


m 


5846 


m 


4401 


m 


17453 


m 


6404 m 




- 


- 




241 


kg 


- 




96 


kg 


- 


Unknown 


- 


2260 


m 


14 




- 




- 




— 


Total 


22066 


55936 




37262 




46975 




82046 




189068 




52167 m 


63592 


m 


54323 


m 


191144 


m 


178583 


m 


62654 ID 




- 


52869 


m? 


375 


kg 


- 




1879 


kg 


80 kg 



257 



Python molurus 

Table lb Minimum net imports of live P. molurus reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Argentina 






1 


5 




5 


Austria 


- 


- 


73 


12 


- 


14 


Belgium 


- 


- 


- 


- 


40 


10 


Canada 


119 


44 


21 


73 


65 


79 


Czechoslovalcia 


- 


- 


- 


_ 


- 


15 


Denmark 


40 


- 


- 


- 


388 


525 


Finland 


1 


- 


5 


- 


- 


- 


France 


- 


13 


- 


17 


9 


82 


German D.R. 


15 


- 


- 


- 


6 


1 


Germany, F.R. 


770 


598 


672 


794 


700 


2001 


Greece 


- 


- 


- 


1 


4 


4 


Hungary 


- 


- 


- 


- 


1 


- 


India 


- 


- 


- 


2 


- 


- 


Israel 


_ 


10 


- 


- 


- 


- 


Italy 


28 


167 


119 


160 


42 


194 


Japan 


- 


- 


- 


246 


326 


1182 


Korea, Rep. of 


- 


- 


- 


- 


- 


4 


Kuwait 


- 


- 


- 


- 


12 


10 


Liberia 


- 


4 


_ 


- 


- 


_ 


Mexico 


8 


- 


25 


- 


- 


- 


Netherlands 


- 


- 


- 


- 


601 


1762 


Poland 


- 


- 


- 


2 


- 


- 


Portugal 


- 


- 


- 


2 


16 


112 


Qatar 


- 


- 


- 


4 


- 


- 


Saudi Arabia 


- 


- 


- 


- 


3 


55 


Singapore 


- 


- 


- 


- 


- 


6 


South Africa 


1 


- 


- 


_ 


- 


- 


Spain 


- 


- 


- 


15 


11 


48 


Sri Lanka 


- 


- 


- 


4 


- 


- 


St Helena 


- 


- 


_ 


_ 


_ 


3 


Sweden 


- 


- 


- 


6 


_ 


4 


Switzerland 


109 


51 


37 


- 


_ 


1030 


Tunisia 


- 


- 


- 


- 


1 


- 


UAE 


- 


- 


2 


_ 


9 


_ 


UK 


97 


521 


798 


631 


1150 


1421 


USA 


5360 


3465 


5486 


5363 


12626 


16663 


USSR 


- 


- 


_ 


_ 


3 


25 


Unknown 


5 


_ 


_ 


_ 


_ 


_ 



Total 



6553 



4873 



7239 



7337 



16013 



25255 



The only reports of international trade in P. molurus are those contained in 
the Annual Reports of Parties to CITES. Most were reported as 
P. m. blvlttatus, but a few were simply described as P. molurus. Only 
trade in live animals and skins was considered. The volume of the skin trade 
is shown in Table la. Some transactions were reported in terms of length, 
weight or area; it is difficult reliably to convert these to numbers of skins, 
but Fuchs (1975) suggested 1.7 m as the mean length of P. molurus skins in 
trade. It must be recognised that this can only lead to an approximation of 
the number of individuals involved, but on this basis the volume of trade 
increased steadily from 52 752 in 1980 to 225 923 in 1985, ignoring 
transactions reported by weight or area. Italy, France, the USA and F.R. 



258 



Python molurus 

Germany were the main importers. Some of the apparent increase is artificial, 
because France, a major importer in 1984 and 1985, did not report imports of 
Appendix II material before 1984. The declared sources of the skins are given 
in Table 2a. from which it appears that Thailand, Indonesia and Viet Nam were 
the major suppliers. 

Table lb shows the volume of trade in live animals, which also showed a 
dramatic increase, from 4873 in 1981 to 25 255 in 1985. The USA was the major 
importer, but the UK, F.R. Germany, Japan, Switzerland and the Netherlands 
also imported significant quantities. Almost all of the live snakes 
originated in Thailand (see Table 2b). 

The effects of the trade cannot b© satisfactorily evaluated in the absence of 
any adequate population data, but the levels must be viewed with concern, 
particularly as they seem to be increasing steadily. 

Table 2a Reported countries of origin (or exporting country if no origin 
reported) and numbers of skins of P. molurus bivittatus reported to CITES. 
Transactions reported by length were converted to numbers using an average 
length of 1.7 m. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Countries 


having or po 


ss 


bly having 


populat 


ions 


of P. m. 


bivittatus 




China 


_ 




280 


_ 




_ 


233 


_ 


Hong Kong 


- 




- 


- 




- 


- 


471 


Indonesia 


1244 




11665 


4724 




19494 


10887 


3184 


Malaysia 


104 




770 


- 




_ 


- 


- 


Thailand 


19772 




228772 


53500 




128321 


159451 


224315 


Viet Nam 


28654 




25682 


7062 




27784 


17075 


1192 


Burma 


- 




- 


- 




26 


- 


- 


'Asia' 


- 




- 


_ 




_ 


1 


- 



Countries without wild populations 



Argentina 


311 


92 


- 


- 


- 


Austria 


- 


- 


- 




- 


Cameroon 


- 


- 


- 


- 


- 


Canada 


3 


- 


- 


- 


- 


Denmark 


- 


- 


- 


- 


- 


Ghana 


- 


- 


- 


- 


4 


India 


- 


4 


- 


- 


- 


Italy 


- 


57 


- 


- 


- 


Japan 


- 


160 


- 


- 


- 


Netherlands 


1176 


- 


- 


- 


- 


Nigeria 


- 


- 


- 


- 


27 


Singapore 


5 


15334 


1731 


654 


1026 


Spain 


1 


- 


- 


- 


- 


South Africa 


- 


3 


254 


5 


- 


UK 


- 


- 


102 


1 


- 


USA 


_ 


- 


- 


34 


- 


Taiwan 


_ 


_ 


- 


1 


1690 


Venezuela 


_ 


- 


6 


35 


- 


Unknown 


10598 


6195 


9176 


6370 


4099 



1363 



94 



259 



Python nolurus 

Table 2b Reported countries of origin (or exporting country if no origin 
reported) and numbers of live P. molurus bivittatus reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Countries having or possibly having populations of P. m. bivittatus 



Burma 




- 


3 


- 


Indonesia 




- 


2 


- 


Malaysia 




- 


- 


- 


Thailand 


6508 


4847 


1464 


Viet Nam 




- 


- 


- 


•Asia' 




- 


4 


- 


Countries with 


out 


wild 


populations 




Austria 




_ 


2 


1 


Cameroon 




_ 


- 


- 


Canada 




- 


13 


11 


Denmark 




- 


- 


- 


German D.R. 




- 


- 


- 


Germany, F.R. 




24 


13 


3 


Guatemala 




2 


- 


- 


Poland 




- 


- 


- 


South Africa 




- 


4 


- 


Switzerland 




_ 


- 


- 


Togo 




- 


20 


175 


UK 




- 


- 


- 


USA 




1 


- 


29 


Unknown 




2 


3 


3 



2 


113 


94 


7334 


15935 


24903 


_ 


_ 


308 



2 

4 

15 

2 
39 

7 



1 

4 

10 



CONSERVATION MEASURES 

Bangladesh The skins of pythons are mentioned in Schedule II of the 
Wildlife (Preservation) Order, 1973. Their possession, transfer or import 
requires a certificate of lawful posession. 

Hong Kong Listed as Protected under the Wildlife Protection Ordinance No. 
5, 1976, and as such hunting, killing and possession is prohibited (Hong Kong 
CITES MA, 1985) . 

India Pythons are listed on Schedule I of the Widlife Protection Act, 1972, 
and are thus totally protected. 

Indonesia Protected since 1978 in Indonesia (Indonesia CITES MA, 1986). 

Pakistan The species is protected, and may not be killed, trapped or traded 
(Pakistan CITES HA, 1986). 

Thailand Listed on Schedule 2 (protected wild animals of the second 
category) of the Wild Animals Reservation and Protection Act B.E.2503 in 
Thailand, effective 11 November 1985. 



CAPTIVE BREEDING This species is very commonly held by zoos and pet 
keepers, and is frequently bred in captivity. A recent inventory (Slavens, 



260 



Python molurus 

1985) records 77 p. m. molurus in 21 collections and 198 P. m. blvlttatus 
in 56 collections in 1984; total numbers in captivity will certainly be much 
higher than these figures. Second generation captive breeding has been 
recorded at Berlin, Milwaukee, Pilsen and Little Rock zoos (Olney, 1984). 

Reportedly reared (though not bred) until of commercially viable size for the 
skin trade at several crocodile farms in South East Asia, including Singapore 
(Piatt, 1985). 

REFERKWCES 

Anon. (1980). Atlas of Chinese Snakes. Technical Publishing House of 

Shanghai University. 
Campden-Main, S.M. (1970). A Field Guide to the Snakes of South Vietnam. 

Smithsonian Institution, Washington. 
De Silva, P.H.D. (1980). Snake fauna of Sri Lanka with special reference to 

skull, dentition and venom of snakes. Spolla Zeylanlca 34(1, II): 1-142. 
Deuve, J. (1970). Serpents du Laos. Memoire O.R.S.T.O.M. No. 39, Paris. 
Dhungel, S.K. (1985). Ordeal with a Rock Python. Tlgerpaper 10(3): 7-8. 
Flower, S.S. (1899). Notes on a second collection of reptiles made in the 

Malay Peninsula and Siam. With a list of the species recorded from those 

countries. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1899: 

600-697. 
Fuchs, K. (1975). Chemistry and technology of novelty leather. FAQ, Rome, 

201 pp. 
Ghalib, S.A., Rahman, H., Iff at, F. , and Hasnain, S.A. (undated, post-1980?). 

A checklist of the reptiles of Pakistan. Records of the Zoological 

Survey of Pakistan 8(1-2): 37-59. 
Haas, C.P.J, de, (1950). Checklist of the snakes of the Indo-Australian 

Archipelago. Treubla 20(3): 511-625. 
Irvine, F.R. (1954). Snakes as food for man. British Journal of Herpetology 

1(10): 183-189. 
Khan, M.A.R. (1982). On the endangered snakes of Bangladesh. In, Proceedings 

of the lUCN/SSC Snake Group First Meeting, 8-12 November, 1982. Madras 

Crocodile Bank. 
Kock, D. and Schroder, H. (1981). Die Gattung Python in Bangladesh. 

Salamandra 17(3/4): 112-118. 
Minton, S.A. (1966). A contribution to the herpetology of West Pakistan. 

Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 134: 27-184. 
Olney, P.J.S. (Ed)' (1984). Reptiles bred in captivity and multiple generation 

births, 1981. In, International Zoo Yearbook 23. (See also vols. 21, 

22). 
Piatt, C. (1985). Regional Director's field trip to Asia 1985 (summary 

report). Animals International (WSPA) 5 (17): 4-5. 
Pope, C.H. (1961). The Giant Snakes. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 297 pp. 
Romer, J.D. (1979) Second revised annotated checklist with keys to the snakes 

of Hong Kong. Memoirs of the Hong Kong Natural History Society No. 14: 

1-23. 
Saint Girons, H. (1972). Les Serpents du Cambodge. Memolres museum National 

d'hlstolre Naturelle, Paris, N.S., Ser. A (Zool.), 74. 
Salter, R.E. (1983). Summary of currently available information on 

internationally threatened wildlife species in Burma. F.O.: BUR/80/006. 

Field Document 7/83. FAQ, Rangoon. 
Slavens, F.L. (1985). Inventory of live reptiles and amphibians In captivity, 

current January 1. 198S . F.L. Slavens, Seattle, Washington, 341 pp. 
Smith, M.A. (1943). Reptilia and Amphibia, Vol. Ill, Serpentes. In, The 

Fauna of British India. Taylor and Francis, Ltd., London. Reprinted 

1973, Ralph Curtis Books, Florida. 
Soderberg, P. (1965). The pythons of Thailand. Conservation News S.E. Asia 

5: 11-12. 



261 



Python moluTUS 

Stimson, A. (1969). Boidae. Das Tlerrelch, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 89: 

1-49. 
Swan, L.W. and Leviton, A.E. (1962). The herpetology of Nepal: a history, 

check, list, and zoogeographic analysis of the herpetof auna. Proceedings 

of the California Academy of Sciences 32(6): 103-147. 
Taylor, E.H. (1950). The snakes of Ceylon. University of Kansas Science 

Bulletin 33(2): 519-603. 
Tikader, B.K. (1983). Threatened Animals of India. Zoological Survey of 

India, Calcutta, 307 pp. 
Tweedie, M.W.F. (1983). The Snakes of Malaya (3rd edn . ) . Singapore National 

Printers (Pte) Ltd. 
Wall, F. (1912). A popular treatise on the common Indian snakes. Number 17, 

Python molurus . Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 21: 

447-475. 
Whi taker, R. (1978). Common snakes of India. Macmillan and Co., Madras, 
154 pp. 
Whitaker, R. and Whitaker, Z. (1983). Herpetological conservation in India. 

Paper presented at Bombay Natural History Society Centenary Seminar. 

December 1983. (Proceedings in press, 1986). 



262 



RETICULATED PYTHON 

Python retlculatus (Schneider, 1801) 

Order SERPBNTES 



Recommended list: 2 
[Possible problem] 



Family BOIDAE 



SUMMARY AMD CONCLUSIONS A potentially very large species. Widespread in 
South East Asia from south-east Bangladesh east through Burma, Thailand, 
Kampuchea and Laos to Viet Nam and south through the Malay Peninsula to 
Singapore, thence east through much of the Indo-Australian Archipelago and the 
Philippines. Present in the Nicobar Islands (India). Generally regarded as 
common, or even very common, around the turn of the century. Little recent 
information is available but the species is still reportedly common in parts 
of the range (Malaysia, Thailand, Viet Nam); no Information is at hand for 
most of the range, and no sound data on population status or trends for any 
part of it. Often a forest species and typically occurs in the vicinity of 
water. Also present in secondary growth and quite frequently near human 
settlements, presumably attracted by the availability of chickens and other 
domestic stock.. Females of four metres length typically lay a clutch of 30-40 
eggs. 

Widely used for food and medicinal purposes, particularly by tribal and 
Chinese-speaking communities. Heavily exploited by the live animal trade, and 
very heavily by the slcin trade. The volume of the international skin trade 
appears from the CITES reports to have increased from 166 000 in 1980 to 
677 000 in 1985. Italy, the USA and F.R. Germany were the main importers and 
Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia were the major suppliers. The trade in live 
animals also showed a dramatic increase, from 4909 in 1981 to 16 613 in 1985. 
The USA was by far the major importer and the great majority of live snakes 
originated in Thailand. 

The sustainabili ty of the recent trade cannot be evaluated in the absence of 

significant population data; such data should be gathered as a matter of 

priority. It must be suspected that present trade is excessive and it is 
particularly worrying that it seems to be increasing. 

DISTRIBUTION Widespread in the Indo-Malayan region. Extends from south- 
east Bangladesh eastward almost throughout mainland South East Asia, and south 
through Peninsular Malaysia to Singapore (Smith, 1943). The range extends 
across most islands of South East Asia, including most of the Philippines, and 
most of Indonesia. Also present in the Nicobar Islands (a Union Territory of 
India) . 

Bangladesh Restricted to the Chittagong and Sylhet areas (Khan, 1982). 

Brunei Recorded as present (Ussher, 1979); no details available. 

Burma One source suggests that the species is restricted to southern parts 
of Burma, but others suggest that pythons (without differentiating between 
r&ticulatus and molurus) are widespread in the country (Salter, 1983). 

India Confirmed records appear to be restricted to the Nicobar islands in 
the Union Territory of the Andamans and Nicobars; recorded from Car Nicobar, 
Teressa, Trinkat, Nancowry, Great Nicobar and Little Nicobar (Whitaker and 
Whitaker, 1983). Other sources (Daniel, 1984; Tikader, 1983) state that the 
species also occurs in mainland India, in the extreme north-east, but these 
reports seem to be unconfirmed. 



263 



Python retlculatus 

Indonesia Widespread, west to Sumatra and the adjacent Nentawai group, and 
east to Halmahera, Seram and Tanimbar (but not to New Guinea) (De Rooij, 1915; 
de Haas, 1950). Present in Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Java, Flores, Lombok, 
Natuna, Tanimbar, Sumba and Sumbawa (Indonesia CITES HA, 1986). 

Kampuchea There appear to no recent records (Saint Girons, 1972), although 
the species would be expected to occur throughout (Smith, 1943). 

Laos Found in all provinces, although more common in the centre and south 
(Deuve, 1970). 

Malaysia No details available for Malaysia, but apparently occurs in 
suitable habitat throughout the peninsula (B.H. Kiew, in lltt., 25 February 
1986); also present in Sabah, where recorded in forested areas throughout 
(Malaysia, Sabah CITES MA, 1985), and in Sarawak.. 

Philippines Widespread, including all the larger islands (Leviton, 1963). 

Singapore Present (Ridley, 1899), no details available. 

Thailand Reportedly restricted to below 18*N (Smith, 1943), although others 
(Taylor, 1965) regard the species' absence from the north as "possible" or, 
(Soderberg, 1965), state that it occurs commonly in all provinces. 

Viet Nam Occurs throughout southern Viet Nam (Campden-Main, 1970) and 

extends north through most of the country at least to Yen Bai (near Hanoi) 

(Smith, 1943). Generally more frequent in the south than the north in 
Indochina as a whole (Bourret, 1936). 

POPULATION The little information available on wild populations, often 
dating from around the turn of the century, is very generalised or anecdotal 
in nature. No sound data are available on population levels or trends in any 
part of the species's range; appropriate fieldwork is required. 

Bangladesh While always confined to rain forests in the east and southeast, 
habitat destruction has reduced and fragmented the range and only two small 
populations remain, in Sylhet and Chittagong (Khan, 1982). Reportedly common 
within its restricted range (Bangladesh CITES HA, 1986). 

Brunei No data. 

Burma No specific data; pythons (both P. molurus and P. retlculatus) 
reportedly widespread and reasonable common, although with local declines 
already noted after the turn of the century (Salter, 1983). Wall (1916) 
reported that the species was regarded as common in Pegu, not uncommon in 
Tenasserim (more common than P. molurus) , but rare in lower Burma generally. 

India Restricted distribution, numbers unknown (Whitaker and Whitaker, 
1983); officially considered threatened (Tikader, 1983). 

Indonesia One early twentieth century source cites this species as very 
common (De Rooij, 1915), no recent information available. 

Kampuchea No data 

Laos Both this species and P. molurus are said to have declined markedly 
in Laos due to local utilisation and the export trade (Lao P.D.R. Forest 
Department, in Jitt., 14 February 1986). 



264 



Python retlculatus 

Malaysia Cited at the turn of the century as one of the commonest snakes, 
pythons of 6 m (20 ft) then being "by no means uncommon" (Ridley, 1899). 
Reported very common in the 1950s at Asahan, Malacca (Batchelor, 1958). A 
recent popular source (Lim, 1981) states that the species is "still quite 
common", but questions how long this situation will persist. Similarly, said 
to be still quite common despite exploitation, and can be readily seen (B.H. 
Kiew, In lltt., 25 February 1986). Still abundant in Perlis, within the 
security area of northern peninsular Malaysia (S. Ambu, In lltt., 17 
February 1986), but disturbance, habitat loss, persecution and exploitation 
for food reportedly causes appreciable mortality in other parts of the 
peninsula, where, by implication, the species may often be less than abundant. 

Reported common in Sarawak at one time (Shelford, 1916), and said to be still 
widespread and common (H. Watson, in lltt., 17 March 1986). During 
intensive herpetological fieldwork at three primary rainforest sites in 
Sarawa)c - Nanga Tekalit (366 days), Labang (128 days), Sengai Pesu (160 days) 
- the retlculatus seen numbered only 8, 10 and 4, respectively (R.F. Inger, 
In lltt., 5 March 1986). Population levels unknown in Sabah, although 
P. retlculatus is more common then P. curtus (Malaysia, Sabah CITES MA, 
1985) . 

Philippines No data 

Singapore Said to be "still far from rare" on Singapore in 1922, when 
several specimens were captured within Municipal limits (Sworder, 1922), and 
five individuals were Included in a collection of snakes made over seven 
months, chiefly around the Kee Soon Forest Reserve (Harman, 1961). Apparently 
still relatively common (P. Gopalakrishnakone, in Jict., 13 March 1986), 
although no details of distribution or abundance are available. 

Thailand Said to occur "commonly" in all provinces (Soderberg, 1965). On 
Phuket Island (Frith, 1977) the species ii, apparently still common although 
larger individuals are now very rarely seen because of human predation. 
Numerous specimens can be seen in the possession of local residents who 
collect them to sell for skins (Frith, 1977). Seen occasionally in Khao Yai 
National Park, and more often in Khao Soi Dao in southeast Thailand (in 
slightly wetter forest); probably present in all evergreen forests and 
apparently relatively secure (W.Y. Brockelman, in Jitt., 14 February 1986). 
At the end of the nineteenth century, said to be very common in the city and 
suburbs of Bangkok (Flower, 1899); this is presumably no longer the case. 

Viet Nam Said to be common throughout the south (Campden-Main , 1970). Half 
a century ago reportedly not rare in the Indochinese region in general 
(Bourret, 1936). 

HABITAT AND ECOLOGY A potentially very large boid snake, the Reticulated 
Python is perhaps the only snake which regularly exceeded 6 m in length (Wood, 
1982) - enormous old individuals of 8-9 m have been reported on occasion - 
but the largest specimens living at present are unlikely to approach such 
sizes, and an 'average' specimen would be perhaps 3-4 m long. 

Said to be fond of water, and rarely to be found far from it (Smith, 1943; 
Tweedie, 1983), the Reticulated Python often occurs in the vicinity of forest 
rivers and streams, but may also be found around rice fields, and sometimes in 
water-less rocky hills (Bourret, 1936). In southern Viet Nam, for example, 
the species is reportedly "always" found near water, and in particular, often 
found under bridges over rapidly flowing streams (Campden Main, 1970). Whilst 
the species is said to favour dense forest (Lim, 1°81), jungle growth 
(Soderberg, 1965), or (in Burma) the most dense and least frequented jungle 
(Wall, 1926), it also occurs in plantations or secondary growth (B.H. Kiew, 

265 



Python retlculatus 

In lltt., 25 February 1986), and Flower (1899) even stressed that it was 
once common in Bangkok city and appeared to prefer the busiest parts of the 
riverside . 

The species is said to spend much of the day in hiding, often climbing trees 
for the purpose, and to seek, prey at night, often small or medium sized 
mammals such as monkeys, civet cats, pangolins, small deer and pigs, but also 
birds <Lim, 1981; Wall, 1912). Rats, mice, and domestic stock, especially 
chickens, are taken; for this reason pythons are often found close to human 
habitation and persecuted as a result. 

In captive animals, mating occurs around the turn of the year, with egg 
laying, a single clutch, usually between April and October (Wall, 1926), about 
two months after the last mating. Clutch size tends to be greater with 
increasing size and age of the female; extremes of 8 and 103 have been 
recorded (Lim, 1981; Reitinger, 1978). Females 4 m in length typically lay 
30-AO eggs, about 6^ x 118 mm. Pope (1961) cites a report of two nests in 
Sumatra, one in a hollow log, the other in a hole under bamboo roots. The 
female coils around the eggs and broods them for the entire incubation period 
of 2.5-3 months, although she may leave them to drink and slough. Newborn 
snakes are about 60 cm long. The youngest female known to lay viable eggs was 
five and a half years old. Captive specimens have a maximum recorded age of 
21 years. 

THREATS TO SURVIVAL Widely used in South East Asia for food and medicinal 
purposes, especially by Chinese communities, also by indigenous populations 
(Ridley, 1899; Irvine, 195A). 

Indonesia Python skins are used for leather crafts. Authorised exports of 
this species were 37 590 in 1981, 67 377 in 1982, 75 775 in 1983 and 170 470 
in 1984 (Indonesia CITES HA, 1986). These are considerably lower than Imports 
reported from Indonesia (see Table 2a, below). 

Laos Both this species and P. molarus are said to have suffered from 
habitat destruction and hunting for skins and food. The number of pythons 
used locally as pets may equal those supplying the export trade (Lao P.D.R. 
Forest Department, In lltt., 14 February 1986). 

Malaysia There is a low level of local exploitation in Sarawak: each rural 
village may consume half a dozen pythons (up to 7 m long) each year (J. 
Caldecott, in lltt., 30 January 1986), and there appears to be only one 
restaurant in Kuching that regularly serves retlculatus (E. Bennett, in 
lltt., 5 February 1986). Although the species is caught and eaten or sold 
whenever encountered in Sarawak, it remains widespread and common (H. Watson, 
in lltt., 17 March 1986). However, large numbers of Reticulated Pythons 
appear in markets in West Malaysia, and python meat is readily available 
throughout. The species is also suffering from habitat loss and general 
persecution as rapid development proceeds. However, there are indications 
that the demand for python meat has decreased recently, in parallel with an 
increase In demand for meat, blood and other products of believed medicinal 
value from venomous snakes (S. Ambu, in lltt., 17 February 1986). Other 
sources (B.H. Klew, in lltt., 25 February 1986) do not regard local 
exploitation for food in West Malaysia as excessive. In Sabah, the Chinese 
community uses python meat particularly for soup, and occasionally the skins 
are used for decorative purposes. The levels of exploitation are thought to 
be low, and capture for the pet trade is thought to be insignificant (Sabah 
CITES MA, 1985). 

Philippines Permits were granted retrospectively for the capture of 4842 m 
of P. retlcuAltus skin in 1981, most of which was subsequently exported. A 

266 



Python retlculatus 

total of 5 animals were authorised to be captured live from 1981 to 198S 
(Philippines CITES MA. 1986). 



international trade 



in 



IWTKRHATIOKAL TRADE The only reports of 
P. retlculatus are those contained in the Annual Reports of Parties to 
CITES. Only trade in live animals and skins was considered. The volume of the 
skin trade is shown in Table la. Some transactions were reported in terns of 
length, weight or area; it is difficult reliably to convert these to numbers 
of skins, but Fuchs (1975) suggested 1.8 m as the mean length of 
P. retlculatus skins in trade. It must be recognised that this can only 
lead to an approximation of the number of individuals involved, but on this 
basis the volume of trade fluctuated between 166 000 and 677 000 from 1980 to 
1985, ignoring transactions reported by weight or area. Italy, the USA and 
F.R. Germany were the main importers. The volume of trade appeared to 
increase substantially from 1980 to 1984, although the level decreased 
slightly in 1985. The declared sources of the skins are given in Table 2b. 
from which it appears that Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia were the major 
suppliers . 



Table lb shows the volume of trade in live animals, which also showed a 
dramatic increase, from 4909 in 1981 to 16 613 in 1985. The USA was by far 
the major importer, but the UK, Italy and F.R. Germany also imported 
significant quantities. The great majority of live snakes originated in 
Thailand, with lesser numbers from Indonesia and, formerly, India. 

The sustainabili ty of this volume of exploitation cannot be assessed in the 
absence of good population data. Exploitation would seem to be excessive and 
increasing; although the species is said to retain healthy populations in many 
areas, little is known of populations where exploitation is highest. 

Table la Minimum net imports of skins of P. retlculatus reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Andorra 










19 










Argentina 


- 


- 




- 


1852 




- 




- 


Australia 


875 


9 




26 


4002 




18 




- 




_ 


_ 




_ 


82 


m 


- 




- 


Austria 


_ 


_ 




22 


85 




1051 




173 




- 


3 


m 


112 m 


184 


m 


77 


m 


- 


Belgium 


- 


- 




27 


28 




646 




- 




- 


_ 




10885 m 


- 




875 


m 


- 


Brazil 


_ 


- 




- 


- 




4 




55 


Canada 


1568 


4938 




474 


315 




452 




202 




561 m 


248 


m 


- 


188 


m 


50 


m 


- 


Cyprus 


- 


- 




45 


270 




32 




- 


Denmark 


235 


233 




342 


31 




45 




- 


Egypt 


- 


4 




- 


- 




- 




- 


Finland 


_ 


- 




- 


19 




3 




- 




_ 


_ 




- 


_ 




98 


m 


150 m 


France 


_ 


_ 




_ 


- 




8898 




22932 




_ 


6138 


m 


- 


- 




8000 


m 


2172 m 


German D.R. 


- 


329 




7142 


- 




- 




- 


Germany, F.R. 


_ 


8009 




- 


636 




- 




6976 




55614 m 


_ 




_ 


50913 


m 


38494 


m 


176 m 


Greece 


_ 


442 




64 


113 




1654 




456 




_ 


_ 




_ 


179 


m 


3118 


m 


- 



84 m'^ 



267 



Python retlculatus 
Table la Continued. 





1980 




1981 


1982 




1983 




1984 




1985 


Hong Kong 


1576 






228 




250 




4766 




5911 




- 




- 


- 




3 


m 


3829 


m 


- 


Hungary 


497 




- 


- 




50 




- 




- 


Indonesia 


- 




- 


- 




- 




- 




4 m 


Israel 


3A 




71 


126 




10 




39 




- 




_ 




276 m 


- 




- 




22 


m 


- 


Italy 


13185 




28251 


61939 




76866 




54397 




17399 




600 


m 


4112 m 


65570 


m 


182254 


m 


61066 


m 


41855 m 




_ 




23832 m^ 


12 


kg 


- 




- 




- 


Japan 


- 




- 


- 




- 




7992 




70578 




- 




- 


- 




- 




9271 


kg 


4 kg 


Jordan 


- 




- 


- 




- 




38 




- 


Korea, Rep. of 


- 




- 


- 




- 




665 




8 




- 




- 


- 




483 


m 


1851 


m 


1831 ro 


Lebanon 


105 




- 


- 




- 




61 




- 


Malta 


- 




550 m 


- 




- 




100 




40 


Mexico 


727 




708 


629 




318 




- 




6730 




- 




7 m 


54 


m 


- 




3508 


m 


2206 m 




221 


m? 


44 m^ 


24 


m? 


_ 




92 


m? 


- 




2 


y-t 


29 kg 


329 


1C6 


- 




340 


kE 


743 kg 


Morocco 


- 




- 


- 




- 




- 




3 


Namibia 


- 




- 


- 




- 




- 




11 


Netherlands 


_ 




445 


- 




- 




883 




308 




_ 




- 


_ 




- 




2927 


m 


11760 ro 


Neth. Antilles 


_ 




_ 


- 




13 




- 




- 


New Zealand 


553 




700 


257 




713 




1666 




- 


Norway 


20 




20 


- 




- 




241 




1 


Panama 


- 




- 


- 




- 




- 




716 


Saudi Arabia 


- 




_ 


- 




60 




- 




17 


Singapore 


- 




- 


7758 




150779 




131046 




- 


South Africa 


- 




402 m^ 


- 




- 




- 




- 


Spain 


5632 




2942 


• 




- 




28307 


m 


- 


Sweden 


_ 




- 


_ 




- 




8 




10 


Switzerland 


- 




13517 m 


1083 




501 


m 


17752 


m 


- 


Taiwan 


- 




- 


_ 




2757 




232 




3366 


Tunisia 


- 




- 


- 




- 




71 




71 


Turkey 


- 




- 


- 




55 




148 




368 




_ 




- 


_ 




50 


ro 


617 


m 


104m 


UAE 


- 




- 


- 




- 




77 




- 


UK 


834 




5311 


1201 




- 




- 




- 




- 




15184 m 


_ 




25167 


m 


21785 


ro 


56915 ro 


Unknown 


1956 




2456 


665 




4 




- 




- 


Uruguay 


- 




- 


- 




- 




300 


m 


- 


USA 


90038 




110577 


37623 




65696 




169789 




184179 




30429 


m 


104284 ro 


39212 


m 


59087 


m 


219624 


m 


300167 m 




1873 


kE 


97 kg 


81 


m2 


- 




2341 


ro2 


89 m^ 


Venezuela 


- 




- 


- 




13 




- 




- 


Total 


117835 




165445 


119651 




304954 




385022 




320510 




87204 


m 


144319 m 


115833 


m 


322864 


m 


412300 


ro 


417340 m 




221 


m2 


24278 m^ 


105 


m? 


- 




2517 


ro2 


89 m^ 




1875 


JCB 


126 kg 


341 


kB 


- 




9611 


kg 


747 kg 



268 



Python retlculatus 
Table lb Minimum net imports of live Python reticulatus reported to CITES. 





1980 


1981 


1982 


1983 


1984 


1985 


Argentina 


2 




1 




3 




Austria 


- 


4 


42 


14 


18 


14 


Belgium 


- 


- 


_ 


_ 


^ 


10 


Canada 


126 


48 


19 


29 


58 


40 


Czechoslovalcia 


- 


- 


_ 


^ 


_ 


10 


Denmark 


59 


- 


_ 


_ 


70 


110 


Egypt 


- 


_ 


_ 


4 


. 


_ 


Finland 


- 


- 


_ 


_ 


1 


_ 


France 


- 


6 


4 


12 


19 


82 


German D.R. 


20 


- 


_ 


14 


4 


2 


Germany, F.R. 


1022 


26 


405 


660 


671 


1609 


Greece 


- 


_ 


_ 


1 


432 


2 


Hong Kong 


- 


- 


- 


_ 


15 


_ 


Israel 


- 


10 


- 


2 


— 


2 


Italy 


41 


52 


118 


151 


74 


36 


Japan 


- 


- 


_ 


156 


144 


1077 


Korea, Rep. of 


- 


- 


- 


4 


2 


_ 


Kuwait 


- 


- 


_ 


— 


14 


8 


Liberia 


- 


2 


_ 


_ 


_ 


_ 


Mexico 


2 


_ 


11 


_ 


_ 


_ 


Netherlands 


- 


- 


_ 


_ 


2550 


872 


Portugal 


- 


- 


1 


_ 


15 


126 


Roman i a 


2 


- 


_ 


- 


- 


_ 


Saudi Arabia 


- 


- 


2 


1 


_ 


10 


Singapore 


- 


_ 


- 


1 


_ 


1 


South Africa 


- 


- 


- 


- 


- 


1 


Spain 


- 


5 


6 


10 


- 


- 


Switzerland 


95 


93 


22 


8 


- 


496 


Taiwan 


- 


- 


- 


1 


- 


- 


UAE 


_ 


_ 


_ 


_ 


1 


_ 


UK 


116 


284 


355 


466 


1090 


1151 


USA 


5841 


4377 


4342 


4738 


6713 


10849 


USSR 


13 


- 


- 


4 


2 


6 


Unknown 


- 


- 


- 


1 


- 


99 


Uruguay 


- 


2 


- 


- 


- 


- 


Venezuela 


- 


- 


2 


- 


- 


- 


Total 


7339 


4909 


5330 


6277 


11896 


16613 



Table 2a Reported countries of origin (or exporting country if no origin 
reported) and numbers of skins of Python zetlculatus reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Countries having or possibly having wild populations of P. retlculatus, 



India 



Indonesia 



21 



13811 
5329 m^ 
254 m^ 



2 kg 



510 
1334 m 
1000 m^ 
72646 
55248 m 
15333 m^ 
125 kg 



1000 m 

68404 
56975 m 



900 



242922 



;l 



900 
254 k 
40 m 
265639 
203441 m 
2433 m^ 
8447 kg 



3971 



176849 
273355 m 

370 kg 

269 



Python reticulatus 
Table 2a Continued. 
1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Malaysia 


19069 




2771 


14 




2751 


4642 




3775 




- 




150 m 


- 




- 


- 




- 




- 




29 kg 


213 


kg 


- 


221 


kg 


271 leg 


Philippines 


497 




1435 


188 




2144 


480 




2198 




286 


m 


3069 m 


600 


m 


_ 


1362 


m 


5349 m 




- 




500 m^ 


_ 




_ 


_ 




_ 


Singapore 


37702 




62104 


26535 




36452 


8754 




90746 




37535 


m 


55083 m 


20745 


m 


- 


712 


m 


918 m 




- 




800 m^ 


125 


kg 


- 


84 


m? 


- 


Thailand 


36717 




88025 


31146 




116110 


119690 




134959 




37954 


m 


49115 m 


32172 


m 


- 


86368 


m 


135431 m 




- 




6796 m^ 


24 


n,2 


_ 


52 


m2 


89 m^ 




- 




- 


116 


kg 


- 


878 


kg 


75 kg 


Viet Nam 


- 




- 


207 




690 


441 




4 kg 


Countries wi 


thout wild 


populations 


of P. reticulatus. 








Argentina 


- 




- 


- 




15 


4 




56 kg 


Canada 


- 




- 


- 




- 


- 




520 m 


Cameroon 


- 




2 


— 




_ 


_ 




- 


Chad 


- 




- 


- 




_ 


- 




500 m 


China 


- 




- 


- 




- 


160 




- 


Denmark 


- 




- 


- 




- 


1 




8 


France 


- 




_ 


- 




630 


100 




- 


German D.R. 


170 




- 


- 






- 




— 


Germany, F.R 


9447 




3972 


- 




- 


- 




- 




- 




12001 m 


- 




- 


_ 




- 


Italy 


4 




- 


- 




_ 


- 




— 


Japan 


873 




1066 


- 




1212 


8341 




1 




5000 


m 


251 m 


329 


m 


_ 


215 


m 


- 




- 




- 


- 




- 


77 


kg 


387 kg 


Nepal 


- 




- 


- 




1265 


- 




- 


Netherlands 


1179 




- 


- 




- 


_ 




_ 


Nigeria 


1740 




66 


3 




- 


- 




5 




- 




61 m 


- 




- 


- 




- 


Panama 


- 




- 


- 




_ 


77 




707 


Paraguay 


- 




_ 


_ 




7 


. 




_ 


South Africa 


1718 




1055 


23 




471 


_ 




_ 




- 




1623 m 


- 




- 


- 




- 




_ 




31 m^ 


_ 




- 


_ 




_ 


Spain 


2 




- 


_ 




- 


- 




_ 


Sudan 


- 




- 


- 




1 


- 




104 


Switzerland 


- 




259 


23 




_ 


8 




_ 




- 




466 m 


_ 




_ 


_ 




_ 


Taiwan 


100 




18 


18 




1654 


807 




202 




- 




4074 m 


_ 




- 


_ 




_ 


Tanzania 


23 




_ 


- 




_ 


- 




_ 


Togo 


- 




- 


- 




466 


- 




- 


UK 


16 




334 


_ 




226 


66 




18 




1720 


m 


891 m 


_ 




_ 


_ 




_ 


USA 


- 




350 


- 




13 


49 




8 


Unknown 


28509 




21607 


32461 




57121 


16853 




3122 




4380 


m 


6257 m 


13832 


m 


_ 


133034 


m 


2077 m 


, 


37 


m2 


_ 


104 


in2 


_ 


_ 




_ 




1873 


kE 


- 


15 


kE 


- 


- 




- 



270 



Python retlculatus 

Table 2b Reported countries of origin (or exporting country if no origin 
reported) and quantities of transactions in live Python retlculatus reported 
to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Countries having or possibly having wild populations of P. retlculatus. 



Burma 


- 


- 


- 


_ 


_ 


1 


Indonesia 


- 


9 


_ 


4 


1880 


300 


India 


1878 


- 


_ 


_ 


_ 


_ 


Malaysia 


513 


161 


37 


101 


449 


114 


Philippines 


- 


- 


- 


1 


1 


3 


Singapore 


- 


- 


5 


_ 


- 


_ 


Thailand 


6346 


4518 


5255 


5771 


9619 


15751 



Countries without wild populations of P. retlculatus . 



'Asia' 


- 


4 


- 


Australia 


4 


- 


- 


Canada 


1 


1 


2 


German D.R. 


- 


- 


- 


Germany, F.R. 


10 


4 


_ 


Ghana 


- 


176 


25 


Guyana 


1 


- 


- 


Honduras 


2 


- 


- 


Japan 


- 


- 


- 


Netherlands 


12 


- 


1 


Poland 


- 


- 


_ 


Sweden 


- 


- 


- 


Switzerland 


1 


- 


- 


Togo 


- 


75 


25 


UK 


- 


2 


- 


USA 


2 


- 


22 


USSR 


- 


- 


- 


Unlcnown 


475 


5 


15 



2 

4 

400 



10 



19 



503 



1 


- 


15 


7 


- 


294 


27 


1 


2 


- 


5 


1 



CONSERVATION MEASURES 

Bangladesh The slcins of pythons are mentioned in Schedule II of the 
Wildlife (Preservation) Order, 1973. Their possession, transfer or import 
requires a certificate of lawful posession. 

India Pythons are listed on Schedule I of the Widlife Protection Act, 1972, 
and are thus totally protected. 



Indonesia Harvest is "controlled" in Indonesia (Indonesia CITES MA, 1986). 
Quotas for 1987 were set to total 140 000 skins, divided between the regions 
as follows: Acoh, 6900; Sumut , 11 500; Sumbar, 4100; Riau, 8000; Jambi, 6000; 
Bengkulu, 7000; Sumsel, 12 000; Lampung, 4500; OKI, 2400; Jabar, 1000; Jateng, 
100; Jatim, 1000; Kalteng, 17 000; Kalsel, 7000; Kaltim, 30 000; Sulut, 2500; 
Sulteng, 1000; Sulsel, 10 000; Sultera, 1500; NTT, 500; Timtim, 500; Maluku, 
2500; Irja, 3000 (Indonesia CITES MA, 1987). 



Malaysia Protected in Peninsular Malaysia (1972 Protection of Wild 
Act) but not in Sabah or Sarawak (E. Bennett, in lltt., 5 February 1986). 



Life 



271 



Python retlculatus 

Singapore All wild fauna in Singapore is fully protected (Singapore Primary 
Production Department, In lltt., 11 January 1986). 

Thailand Recently protected in Thailand under the Wild Animals Reservation 
and Protection Act B.E.2503, effective 11 November 1985. 

CAPTIVB BRKKDIWG Widely held in public and private zoological collections; 

a recent inventory (Slavens, 1985) reports 105 individuals in 40 collections. 

Has bred quite frequently in captivity, in four zoos in 1981, with second 
generation breeding at Pilsen, Czechoslovakia (Olney, 1985). 

REFKRKNCKS 

Batchelor, D.H. (1958). Some notes on the snakes of Asahan, Malacca. 

Malayan Nature Journal 12(3): 103-111. 
Bourret, R. (1936). Les Serpents de I'Indochine, II, Catalogue Syst^matique 

Descriptif. Toulouse, Imp. H. Basuydu et Cie. 
Campden-Main, S.M. (1970). A field guide to the snakes of South Vietnam. 

Smithsonian Institution, Washington. 
Daniel, J.C. (1984). The book of Indian reptiles. Bombay Natural History 

Society, Bombay, 141 pp. 
De Rooij, N. (1915). The reptiles of the Indo-Australlan Archipelago, Vol. 

Ill, Ophldla. E.J. Brill Ltd., Leiden. Reprinted 1970, A. Asher and Co. 

N.V. Vaals. 
Deuve, J. (1970). Serpents de Laos. M6moire O.R.S.T.O.M. No. 39, Paris. 
Flower, S.S. (1899). Notes on a second collection of reptiles made in the 

Malay Peninsula and Siam. With a list of the species recorded from those 

countries. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1899: 

600-697. 
Frith, C.B. (1977). A survey of the snakes of Phuket Island and the adjacent 

mainland areas of Peninsular Thailand. Natural History Bulletin of the 

Slam Society 26: 263-316. 
Fuchs, K. (1975). Chemistry and technology of novelty leather. FAG, Rome, 

201 pp. 
Haas, C.P. de (1950). Checklist of the snakes of the Indo-Australian 

Archipelago. Treubla, 20(3): 511-625. 
Harman, A.J.E. (1961). A collection of snakes from Singapore. Malayan 

Nature Journal 15: 181-183. 
Irvine, F.R. (1954). Snakes as food for man. British Journal of 

Herpetology 1(10): 183-189. 
Khan, H.A.R. (1982). On the endangered snakes of Bangladesh. In, Proceedings 

of the lUCN/SSC Snake Group First Meeting, 8-12 November, 1982. Madras 

Crocodile Bank. 
Leviton, A.E. (1963). Remarks on the zoogeography of Philippine terrestrial 

snakes. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 4th ser., 

31(15): 369-416. 
Lim, F.L.K. (1981). The Reticulated Python. Nature malayslana 6(4): 14-17. 
Olney, P.J.S. (Ed) (1984). Reptiles bred in captivity and multiple generation 

births, 1981. In: International Zoo Yearbook, 23. 
Reitinger, F.F. (1978). Coiimon Snakes of South East Asia and Hong Kong. 

Heinemann Educational Books (Asia) Ltd., Hong Kong. 
Ridley, H.N. (1899). The habits of Malay reptiles. Journal of the Straits 

Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 32: 185-210. 
Saint Girons, H. (1972). Les serpents du Cambodge. Memolres museum National 

d'hlstolre Naturelle, Paris, N.S., Ser. A (Zool.), 74. 
Salter, R.E. (1983). Summary of currently available information on 

internationally threatened wildlife species in Burma. F.O.: BUR/80/006. 

Field Document 7/83. FAQ, Rangoon. 
Shelford, R.W.C. (1916). A naturalist In Borneo. London, T. Fisher Unwln. 
Slavens, F.L. (1985). Inventory of live reptiles and amphibians In captivity, 

current January 1, 198S. F.L. Slavens, Seattle, Washington, 341 pp. 

272 



Python retJcuJatus 

Smith, M.A. (1943). Reptilia and Amphibia, Vol. Ill, Serpentes. In: The 

Fauna of British India. Taylor and Frances, Ltd., London. Reprinted 

1973, Ralph Curtis Books, Florida, 583 pp. 
Soderberg, P. (1965). The pythons of Thailand. Conservation News S.B Asia 

5: 11-12. 
Sworder, G.H. (1922). A list of the snakes of Singapore Island. Singapore 

Naturalist 1(2): 55-73. 
Taylor, E..H. (1965). Serpents of Thailand and Adjacent Waters. University 

of Kansas Science Bulletin 45(9): 609-1096. 
Tilcader, B.K. (1983). Threatened Animals of India. Zoological Survey of 

India, Calcutta, 307 pp. 
Tweedie, M.W.F. (1983). The Snakes of Halaya (3rd edn.J. Singapore National 

Printers (Pte) Ltd. 
Ussher, C. (1979). Brunei's largest snake. Brunei Museum Journal 4(3): 180 

(not seen, cited in Zoological Record). 
Wall, F. (1916). The Reticulate Python Python retlculatus (Schneider). 

Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 31: 84-90. 
Whitaker, R. and Whitaker, Z. (1983). Herpetological conservation in India. 

Paper presented at Bombay Natural History Society Centenary Seminar. 

December 1983. (Proceedings in press). 
Wood, C.L. (1982). The Cuiness Book of Animal Facts and Feats. Guiness 

Superlatives, London, 252 pp. 



273 



AFRICAN PYTHON 

Python sebae (Gmelin, 1789) 

Order SERPENTES 



Recommended list: 2 
(Possible problem] 



Family BOIDAE 



SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS A potentially very large species, very widespread 
in Africa south of the Sahara. Records exist for the following countries: 
Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, 
Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea 
Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, 
Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, 
Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Zaire, Zambia. The species is 
also likely to occur in Mauritania. Typically found in the vicinity of water 
and in savanna habitats but also ranges into forest regions. Seemingly still 
common in national parks and similar protected areas in southern parts, 
possibly in the north also, but also reported to be locally depleted, although 
little information is available on population sizes or trends. 

Widely exploited for food, medicine and skins; no detailed information is 
available on numbers utilized nationally. Relatively small numbers of live 
P. sebae are in reported international trade, an annual mean of 465 animals 
between 1980 and 1985, but large numbers of skins are traded, ranging between 
641 and 15 260 in the same period, with an annual mean of 4403. In the skin 
trade, the main importers were Italy and F.R. Germany, and the major sources, 
Sudan, Nigeria, Ghana and Togo. The chief importers of live animals were the 
USA and F.R. Germany, who obtained stock mostly from Ghana, Togo and Senegal. 

This volume of trade seems unlikely to pose a threat to the species as a 
whole, but, although it may well be adversely affecting local populations, 
adequate population data are not available to evaluate this possibility; such 
data should be gathered as a matter of priority. 

DISTRIBUTION Widespread in the continent of Africa, south of the Sahara. 
Present on a few offshore islands, such as Bioko, (Fernando Poo) and Zanzibar, 
but absent from Madagascar. The northern limit of the range extends from 
Senegal in the west, across the fringes of the Sahel to Ethiopia and Somalia. 
The species is absent from the Kalahari and other arid parts of southern 
Africa, where the southern. limit extends from the northern sector of Namibia, 
across northern Botswana, to north-east South Africa. 

Records exist for the following countries: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina, 
Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, 
Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya. 
Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, 
Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, 
Zimbabwe, Zaire, Zambia. The species is also likely to occur in Mauritania. 

Tazonomic note A recent review (Broadley, 1984) recognises two subspecies, 
P. s. sebae In northern parts of the range, and P. s. natalensls in 
southern parts, from northern Angola, southern Zaire and Kenya south to 
Natal. A recently described species P. saxuloldes Miller & Smith, 1979 is 
reduced to the synonymy of P. s. natalensls . 

Angola P. s. sebae has been recorded from Ambriz and Dundo in the north 
of Angola. P. s. natalensls occurs in the south of the country (Broadley, 
1984) . 

Benin P. s. sebae is recorded only from Zizonkame (Broadley, 1984). 



274 



Python sebae 

Botswana Recorded localities for P. s. natalensls are Kasane, Khwai , Lake 
Ngami , Maun, Metsimalclaba (Broadley, 1984). 

Burkina Recorded localities for P. s. sebae are Natiaboani , Ougarou 
(Broadley, 1986). 

Burundi P. s. natalensls is recorded only from Bujumbura (Broadley, 1984). 

Cameroon Recorded localities for P. s. sebae are Bafout, Banjo Bamendo, 
Bipindi, Edea, Koum, Libamba-Malcak;, Metet, Mieri, Nachtigal, Tchollir6, 
Victoria (Broadley, 1984). 

Chad P. s. sebae is recorded only from Sar (Broadley, 1984). 

Congo Broadly (1984) recorded P. s. sebae only from Nganchou, but it is 
said to be widely distributed (Congo CITES MA, 1986). 

Equatorial Guinea Recorded localities for P. s. sebae are Rio Benito on 
the mainland and Bioico (Broadley, 1984). 

Ethiopia Recorded localities for P. s. sebae are Aniba Aradam, Godare, 
Kaalam, Sodu (Broadley, 1984). 

Gabon Distributed more or less uniformly throughout the country (Gabon 
Ministere des Eaux et Forets, in lltt., 29 November 1985). Recorded 
localities for P. s. sebae are Belinga, Fernan Vas, Franceville, Ombou6, 
Talagouga (Broadley, 1984). 

Gambia Listed as present (Ha)cansson, 1981). 

Ghana Recorded localities for P. 5. sebae are Abonu, Accra, Achimota, 
Alcosombo, Amisano, Asempanaye, Bolgatanga, Dabacrom, Gbefi, Kete Kralcye, 
Kpong, Kumasi, Legon, Mole National Park., Secondi, Suhum, Tamale, Volta River, 
Wa (Broadley, 1984). 

Guinea Recorded localities for P. s. sebae are Conarky, Mont Nimba 
(Broadley, 1984). 

Guinea Bissau Recorded localities for P. s. sebae are Bijagos 
Archipelago, Bissao, Mansoa (Broadley, 1984). 

Ivory Coast Recorded localities for P. s. sebae are Adio, Podoum6, Bouna, 
Elima, Flampleu, Lampto (Broadley, 1984). 

Kenya The species occurs in a variety of habitats from semi-desert to swamp 
and forest, occasionally appearing near the centre of Nairobi (A.D. Mackay, 
in lltt., 26 March 1986). P. s. sebae has been recorded from several 
localities in southern Kenya, where it appears to intergrade with 
P. s. natalensls (Broadley, 1984). 

Liberia Said to be restricted to swamps and river courses (Liberia CITES 
MA, 1986). Recorded localities for P. s. sebae are Du River, Harbel, 
Monrovia, Mount Coffee, Peahtah, Robertsport, Suococo (Broadley, 1984). 

Malawi Recorded localities for P. s. natalensls are Chibotela, Chipoka, 
Kondowe to Karonga, Lujeri Estate, Misuku Hills, Nyungwe (Broadley, 1984). 
Morgan-Davis et al . (1984) remarked that large individuals could be seen on 
the Shire River south of Mvuu. 

Mali P. s. sebae is recorded only from Bamako (Broadley, 1984). 

275 



Python sebae 

Mauritania There are no records from the country, but P. s. sebae has 
been recorded from three localities on the southern bank, of the Senegal River 
(Broadley, 1984). 

Mozambique Widely distributed near permanent water (Mozambique CITES MA, 

1986). Recorded localities for P. s. natalensls are Alves de Lima, 

Mozambique Island, Monzo, Setache Po, Vamizi Island and Zinave (Broadley, 
1984). 

Namibia Recorded localities for P. s. natalensls are Kaokoveld to Etosha 
Pan, Rundu (Broadley, 1984). Said to be widespread in the north of the 
country, often associated with artificial water points (Namibia Department of 
Agriculture and Nature Conservation, In lltt., 1987). 



Niger P. s. sebae 
(Broadley, 1984). 



is recorded only from 11 km north-west of Niamey 



Nigeria Found throughout the country (Nigeria CITES MA, 1987). Recorded 
localities for P. s. sebae are Bamendo, Lagos, Mundame, Samaru (Broadley, 
1984). 



Rwanda Recorded localities for 
National Kagera (Broadley, 1984). 



s. sebae are Lac Ihema, Ngarama, Pare 



Senegal Recorded localities for P. s. sebae are Bakel, Boughari, Dagana, 
Darou , Diattacounda, Fatick, Rossombo, Rufisque (Broadley, 1984). 

Sierra Leone Recorded localities for P. s. sebae are Bo, Sandaru 
(Broadley, 1984). 

Somalia Recorded in Middle Shebelle, Mogadishu, Bay, Lower Shebelle, Gedo, 
Middle Jubba and Lower Jubba (Simonetti and Magnoni, 1986). 

South Africa P. s. natalensls is widely distributed in Natal, Transvaal 
and Transkei, and reaches the extreme north of the Cape Province. The last 
specimen was captured in the Eastern Cape Province in 1927 (Fitzsimmons , 
1962; Broadley, 1984), but 31 were reintroduced to a nature reserve in the 
region between 1980 and 1986 (South Africa CITES MA, 1987). 



Sudan Recorded localities for P. 
and the White Nile (Broadley, 1984). 



s. sebae are south of Khartoum, Torit 



Swaziland Recorded localities 
Hlane, Mliba (Broadley, 1984). 



for P. s. natalensls are Groenpan Farm, 



Tanzania Said to be widespread (K. Howell, In lltt., 15 March 1986). 
P. s. sebae has been recorded from several localities in northern Tanzania, 
where it appears to intergrade with P. s. natalensls (Broadley, 1984). 
Present on Zanzibar Island but probably not on Pemba (Pakenham, 1983). 



Togo Recorded 
(Broadley, 1984). 



localities 



for 



P. s. sebae are Binaparba, Nagarou 



Uganda Said to be ubiquitous except at higher altitudes and in arid eastern 
regions (Pitman, 1974). P. s. sebae was recorded only from the Sese Islands 
by Broadley (1984) . 

Zaire P. s. sebae has been recorded from numerous localities in north, 
west and central Zaire, including the northern end of the Rift Valley. 
P. s. natalensls occurs in the south of the country (Broadley, 1984). 



276 



Python sebae 

Zambia Recorded localities for p. s. natalensls are Chipangali, Chipata, 
Chipopera, Kabompo, Kabwe, Kafue River, Kaputa, Kasama, Kasauta, Livingstone] 
Lusaka West, Mbala (Broadley, 1984). 

Zimbabwe P. s. natalensls is found throughout Zimbabwe, but is usually 
most plentiful along major rivers and reed-fringed lakes (Broadley and Cock, 
1975). Broadley (1984) listed numerous localities. 

POPULATIOW The southern subspecies is said to be "still common in thinly 
populated areas where there is good cover and an adequate food supply" 
(Broadley, 1983); this general situation is also likely to apply to the 
northern subspecies. In many cases such areas are likely to be in National 
Parks, Game Reserves, and similar protected areas. In general the species is 
under pressure due to habitat loss and killing for the skin trade. Although 
python populations are said to be rapidly declining in many parts of Africa 
(Madsen et al . , 1985), the species is also said to be very common in many 
regions, and to adapt readily to disturbed environments such as sugar cane 
fields (and to be found frequently around human habitation) (Branch and Hacke, 
1980). Most sources do agree that very large specimens are now rarely seen. 
Given the widespread exploitation of the species and the concern in some 
quarters for its population status, appropriate field data are required with 
some urgency. Available status information is summarised below; there is no 
information for the other countries. 

Cameroon No surveys have been carried out, but the species is said to be 
not in danger (Cameroon CITES MA, 1987). 

Gabon Said to be more common in the coastal regions than inland, where it 
has been depleted by exploitation (Gabon Minist^re des Eaux et Forets, In 
lltt., 29 November 1985). 

Kenya The species is often quite common, although seldom seen (A.D. Mackay, 
In lltt., 26 March 1986). Fairly common along the Kora River in the Kora 
Game Reserve (Madsen et al . , 1985). 

Malawi Morgan-Davis et al . (1984) remarked that the species must be more 
common in Lilondwe National Park than the single record would suggest. 

Namibia Described as widespread in the north and fairly abundant in Etosha 
(Namibia Department of Agriculture and Nature Conservation, In lltt., 28 
February 1987). 

Nigeria Described as rare and vulnerable (Nigeria CITES HA, 1987). 

Somalia Populations are said to have been sadly depleted owing to hunting 
and habitat destruction. In Juba and Shebelle they are rather rare an 
represented almost entirely by young specimens (Simonetti and Magnoni, 1986). 
Fagotto (1985) described the species as "not rare". 

South Africa Listed in the South African Red Data Book as vulnerable 
outside game reserves, but said to be common in Kruger N.P. (McLachlan, 1978) 
and in several of the larger Zululand reserves (South Africa CITES HA, 1987). 

Tanzania Perhaps not threatened in Tanzania, despite trade in skins (both 
legal and illegal) and persecution (K. Howell, In lltt., 15 March 1986). 

Uganda Said to be locally common in suitable habitat, particularly on 
Victoria and Nyanza Islands (Pitman, 1974). Described as quite common in the 
extensive swamps of Lake Kyoga and Bunyoro-Luwero areas, although population 
size is unknown (Uganda Game Department, In lltt., 28 March 1987). 

277 



Python sebae 

Zaire Seemingly under heavy pressure in Zaire due to exploitation for food 
and skins: pythons were difficult to find within about 30 km of Kinshasa and 
specimens over 4 m long were not found at all (larger skins on sale may have 
been stretched or have originated from the interior of the country) (Van 
Wallach, In lltt., 22 October 1983). 

Zimbabwe Reportedly common in most National Parks and Safari Areas in 
Zimbabwe (Broadley and Blake, 1979; cited by Broadley, 1983). 

HABITAT AND ECOLO(ry A large and heavy-bodied species; at present a snake of 
4.S m would be classed as large but occasional old specimens of 7-8 m have 
been recorded in the past. 

Mainly nocturnal or crepuscular, although not exclusively. Highly aquatic, a 
strong swimmer, and a good climber. May occur in various vegetation types. 
Whilst deserts and truly arid regions are avoided, the species is most 
commonly associated with savanna habitats (or 'bush country') of various 
kinds, and when present in forest regions it appears to prefer clearings 
within them, and is often found around human habitation and cultivations 
(Pope, 1961). Most frequently found near swamps, rivers or other permanent 
water sources, but can also be common elsewhere. Often found in large 
horizontal rock crevices near streams, among large boulders in rock outcrops, 
and in ant-bear burrows or deserted termitaria. Extends up to 2250 m in 
Uganda (Pitman, 1974). 

The diet is varied; any mammal of appropriate size (ranging from rats to 
antelopes of several species) or bird, may be taken, or occasionally reptiles, 
frogs or fishes (Broadley and Cock, 1975). Prey is typically taken from 
ambush; for example, in cover next to a game trail, on a branch overhanging 
it, or partly submerged at the edge of a water hole (Broadley and Cock, 1975). 

Breeding may occur at any time of year in equable humid conditions, but 
apparently does not occur during dry seasons elsewhere. Clutch size is often 
between 30 and 50, sometimes more, exceptionally to 100; about 40 is usual for 
a female of about 4.5 m (14-15 ft) length (Cansdale, 1961). Eggs are about 
6 X 9 cm (often many in a clutch being infertile) and are frequently laid in 
an antbear hole, or similar situation (Broadley and Cock, 1975). Incubation 
period is about 90 days; the female broods the eggs (assisting maintenance of 
suitable temperature and moisture conditions), but leaves them frequently to 
visit water. Hatchlings are 20-22 in (51-56 cm) long and 3 oz (85 g) in 
weight (Cansdale, 1961). First mating in a captive group was at nearly six 
years age, 2.4 cm length. 

THREATS TO SURVIVAL This species is used for food, medicinal purposes and 
skins, probably throughout its range. The fat is applied to ease muscle pain 
and chest complaints, and various internal organs are used for other medicinal 
purposes. In many parts of Africa, Pythons are revered for spiritual reasons, 
and are therefore not interfered with (Fitzsimmons , 1962). In West Africa 
generally, P. sebae is most commonly taken for its skin. Also widely 
persecuted for its alleged threat to domestic stock such as chickens, goats 
and calves, and thus greatly depleted in settled and farming areas (Broadley, 
1983). 

Botswana A few pythons are killed for the protection of livestock. There 
are no legal exports (Botswana CITES MA, 1986), though a few manufactured 
products are exported. 

Cameroon There is little trade in raw skins, but a fairly intense trade in 
manufactured goods, such as bags, wallets, etc. (Cameroon CITES HA, 1987). 



278 



Python sebae 

Congo Some tribes in the Congo region are said to relish the meat of 
pythons (Fitzsimons, 1962). They are also hunted for their skins (Congo CITES 
MA, 1986). 

Gabon The people of the inland regions are fond of python meat, but it is 
not eaten in coastal districts. There is said to be little internal trade and 
no recorded exports in 198^i and 1985 (Gabon Ministere des Eaux et Forets, in 
lltt., 29 November 1985). 

Liberia Although the species is used for food, commercial exploitation for 
skins is the primary form of exploitation (Liberia CITES MA, 1986). 

Mozambique There is thought to be little trade, although some animals are 
killed out of fear and their skins may be traded (Mozambique CITES MA, 1986). 

Namibia There is said to be no commercial exploitation and little illicit 
exploitation by reptile fanciers. Occasionally persecuted by farmers (Namibia 
Department of Agriculture and Nature Conservation, In lltt., 1987). 

Nigeria Pythons are commonly killed for their skins. A 5- to 6-m skin can 
fetch 100 naira ($150) or more; skins are openly sold to tourists on beaches 
and in hotels in all major cities (Butler and Shitu, 1985). 

Sierra Leone Pythons are rarely caught for food but more often for skins, 
particularly for export. Skins are sold to trophy dealers who retail them to 
tourists. They are also used by local citizens for house decorations (Sierra 
Leone Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, In life, 23 March 1987). 

Somalia Hunting and habitat destruction are both implicated in population 
decline. Most riverine forest, one of the former main habitats, has now 
disappeared, and smuggling of python skins is said to be still thriving 
(Simonetti and Magnoni, 1986). Fagotto (1985) described the species as "not 
rare" . 

Uganda Greatly persecuted for skins in Lake Kyoga and Bunyoro-Luwero 
areas. Used for food in East Madi and possibly West Nile as a wholo. From 
1981 to 1986 legal exports of skins amounted to 63 in 1981, 16 in 1982, 15 in 
1983 and 5 in 1985. Single live animals were exported in 1984 and 1986. 
There is also thought to be a substantial illegal trade; 142 skins bound for 
Lebanon were seized in 1986 (Uganda Game Department, in iitt., 28 March 
1987) . 

INTERNATIONAL TRADE CITES Annual Reports record trade in skins in numbers 
of pieces and by length. Transactions reported in terms of length have been 
converted to numbers of skins using the figure of 1.7 m given as the mean 
length of skins of P. molurus in trade (a similar sized species to 
P. sebae) by Fuchs (1975). These data are summarised in Tables 1 and 2. 
Relatively small numbers of live P. sebae are in reported international 
trade, an annual mean of 465 animals between 1980 and 1985, but large numbers 
of skins are traded, ranging between 641 and IS 260 in the same period, with 
an annual mean of 4403. In the skin trade, the main importers were Italy and 
F.R. Germany, and the major sources, Sudan, Nigeria, Ghana and Togo. The 
chief importers of live animals were the USA and F.R. Germany, who obtained 
stock mostly from Ghana, Togo and Senegal. This volume of trade seems 
unlikely to pose a threat to the species as a whole, but, although it may well 
be adversely affecting local populations, adequate population data are not 
available to evaluate this possibility. 



279 



Python sebae 

Table 1 Minimum net imports of live animals (L) and skins (S) of P. sebae 
reported to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Australia 


2 S 








1 S 




Austria 


- 


- 


1 S 


- 


- 


281 L 


Belgium 


- 


- 


4 L 


1 S 


- 


1 S 


Canada 


19 L 


1 L 


1 L 


- 


- 


8 L 




25 S 


- 


- 


96 S 


30 S 


13 S 


Chile 


_ 


- 


- 


- 


1 S 


- 


Cyprus 


- 


- 


- 


- 


- 


100 s 


Czechoslovakia 


- 


- 


- 


1 L 


- 


- 


Denmark 


- 


- 


- 


5 L 


4 L 


- 




- 


- 


- 


1 S 


1 S 




German D.R. 


14 L 


- 


- 


- 


8 L 


- 


Germany, F.R. 


97 L 


29 L 


187 L 


81 L 


- 


44 L 




1 S 


137 S 


32 S 


335 S 


2 S 


548 S 


France 


4 S 


1 L 


2 L 


14 L 


3 L 


2 L 




- 


_ 


- 


- 


55 S 


7 S 


Greece 


- 


- 


- 


1 L 


6 L 


887 S 


Israel 


1068 S 


21 S 


- 


131 S 


- 


88 S 




_ 


_ 


_ 


- 


- 


1 L 


Italy 


1 L 


50 L 


40 L 


35 L 


24 L 


- 




- 


11553 S 


5754 S 


- 


162 S 


148 S 


Ivory Coast 


- 


- 


- 


15 S 


- 


- 


Japan 


- 


2 L 


2 L 


1 S 


2 L 


21 L 


Korea, Rep. 


- 


- 


- 


- 


4 L 


- 


Lebanon 


- 


- 


- 


10 s 


- 


- 


Liberia 


- 


- 


- 


3 S 


- 


- 


Lybia 


- 


- 


- 


- 


- 


3 S 


Malaysia 


- 


- 


- 


- 


2 L 


- 


Netherlands 


- 


- 


1 L 


26 L 


18 L 


5 L 




_ 


_ 


_ 


_ 


100 S 


- 


Philippines 


- 


- 


- 


2 L 


■- 


- 


Poland 


- 


- 


1 S 


- 


. 


- 


Romania 


1 L 


- 


- 


- 


- 


- 


Saudi Arabia 


- 


- 


- 


2 L 


3 L 


19 S 


Singapore 


- 


- 


- 


38 S 


6 S 


- 


Spain 


_ 


1 L 


- 


1 L 


3 L 


- 




- 


- 


- 


1 S 


- 


- 


Sweden 


- 


- 


1 s 


- 


- 


1 S 


Switzerland 


3 L 


6 L 


9 L 


9 L 


1 L 


4 L 




4 S 


- 


3 S 


34 S 


3 S 


17 S 


Thailand 


- 


■ - 


- 


- 


- 


59 S 


UAE 


_ 


_ 


- 


- 


- 


69 S 


UK 


84 L 


- 


45 L 


6 L 


7 L 


44 L 




_ 


_ 


50 S 


- 


1 S 


73 S 


USA 


315 L 


261 L 


197 L 


81 L 


108 L 


547 L 




46 S 


3549 S 


401 S 


128 S 


279 S 


258 S 


USSR 


- 


- 


- 


1 L 


- 


2 S 


Yemen 


- 


- 


- 


- 


- 


1 S 


Yugoslavia 


- 


- 


- 


- 


- 


15 S 


Zaire 


1 L 


- 


- 


- 


- 


- 


Country unknown 


1 L 


- 


51 S 


- 


— 


- 


TOTAL 


536 L 


351 L 


488 L 


265 L 


193 L 


958 L 




1127 S 


15260 S 


6294 S 


727 S 


641 S 


2369 S 



280 



Python sebae 

Table 2 Reported countries of origin (or exporting country if no origin 
reported) and numbers of live animals (L) and skins (S) of P. sebae reported 
to CITES. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Countries having or possibly having wild populations of P. sebae 



Benin 


- 




- 




_ 


Cameroon 


- 




3 


S 


2 S 


Chad 


- 




430 


s 


_ 


Congo 


- 




1 


s 


_ 


Ghana 


317 


L 


145 


L 


190 L 




2 


S 


35 


s 


185 S 


Guinea 


- 




- 




_ 


Ivory Coast 


- 




1 


s 


_ 


Kenya 


167 


L 


106 


L 


1 s 


Liberia 


- 




24 


L 


7 L 




- 




420 


s 


_ 


Malawi 


2 


S 


_ 




_ 


Mali 


- 




_ 




335 S 


Mozambique 


- 




_ 




_ 


Nigeria 


210 


s 


391 


s 


84 S 


Senegal 


2 


L 


_ 




150 L 




3 


S 


135 


s 


_ 


Sierra Leone 


- 




- 




_ 


South Africa 


2 


S 


- 




32 S 


Sudan 


- 




11308 


s 


5695 S 


Tanzania 


2 


s 


1 


s 


- 


Togo 


45 


L 


77 


L 


149 L 




- 




- 




2 S 


Uganda 


- 




- 




20 S 


Zaire 


1 


s 


1 


s 


3 S 


Zambia 


2 


s 


- 




_ 



7 S 



70 L 
38 S 



3 S 
42 L 



656 S 

33 S 

7 S 

95 L 

43 S 

57 L 



50 S 


62 S 


1 S 


11 S 


30 L 


702 L 


4 S 


_ 


2 S 


10 s 


- 


5 S 


- 


1 S 


22 L 


40 L 


2 S 


- 


- 


1 S 


140 S 


2 S 


1 S 


- 


153 S 


413 S 


- 


100 L 


109 S 


- 


7 S 


3 S 


2 S 


_ 


- 


1660 S 


- 


2 S 


136 L 


116 L 


87 S 


147 S 



41 S 



1 S 



Countries without wild populations of P. sebae. 



Austria 


- 




1 s 


Germany, F.R. 


_ 




- 


India 


1 


S 


_ 


Indonesia 


2 


S 


- 


Jamaica 


- 




- 


Spain 


2 


S 


- 


Switzerland 


- 




- 


Thailand 


6 


L 


2718 S 


UK 


1 


L 


- 


Unknown 


6 


L 


_ 




904 


S 


39 S 



21 S 



1 S 

39 L 
1 S 



4 L 
21 S 



8 L 



1 L 
161 S 



1 L 
1 S 



20 S 



281 



Python sebae 

CONSERVATION MEASURES Unless otherwise stated, all of the information on 
protection is from lUCN Environmental Policy and Law Occasional Paper No. 3, 
African Wildlife Laws. 

Angola All Pythons are protected under the Hunting Regulations, 11 December 
1955. 

Benin Under the Decree concerning hunting and capturing licences, bag 
limits and professional hunters, 11 February 1980, Pythons are designated as 
small game species. They may only be hunted by the holders of traditional 
hunting rights or under hunting permits. 

Botswana Pythons are totally protected under the Fauna Conservation Act, 
1961. 

Burkina Python sebae is partially protected under the Wildlife 
Conservation and Hunting Act, 31 December 1968, which establishes bag limits 
and close seasons, protects nests and eggs, and regulates the sale of meat. 
Commercial capture and export are controlled under the same Act by Decree No 
68-314. Ordonnance No 68-58, December 1985, fixed the open season from 15 
December 1985 to 28 February 1986 and stipulated that partially protected 
species could only be hunted under special permit and only in the province of 
Gourme and Tapoa. 

Burundi No information. 

Cameroon Python sebae is partially protected (Class B) under the Forests, 
Wildlife and Fisheries Act, 27 November 1981. They may only be taken under a 
valid hunting licence. No more than two animals may be taken in one day. 

Central African Republic The Ordinance concerning the protection of 
wildlife and regulating hunting, 27 July 1984, designates Pythons as partially 
protected; they may only be taken under a special hunting permit and sold or 
exported if they are accompanied by documentary proof that they were acquired 
lawfully. 

Chad No information. 

Congo The Act concerning the conservation and exploitation of wild fauna, 
21 April 1983, vests in the State ownership of all wild animals of economic 
value, and requires the issuing of licences for commercial capturing. 

Equatorial Guinea The Hunting Regulations, 29 April 1953, establish the 
need to obtain hunting licences except for subsistence hunters. Reptiles are 
not protected. 

Ethiopia Under the Wildlife Conservation (Amendment) Regulations, 12 

February 1974, Python sebae are protected. They may only be hunted for 

scientific purposes and require a special permit, the value of which was set 
at Eth$12.50 for each python. 

Gabon The Wildlife and Forests Act, 22 July 1982 requires the Issuing of 
licences for the commercial capture of all wildlife. Traditional hunting for 
subsistence pruposes is permitted. 

Gambia Under the Wildlife Conservation Act, 14 February 1977, all wildlife 
except game and vermin are protected. 

Ghana The Wildlife Conservation Regulations, 4 March 1971, define Python 
sebae as totally protected. 

282 



Python sebae 
Guinea No information. 

Guinea-Bissau The Hunting Regulations, 12 May 1980, require the issuance of 
a licence for the capturing of live wild animals. Pythons are partially 
protected, and may not be taken by sport hunters. 

Ivory Coast Python sebae is listed as a predatory animal in the Wildlife 
and Hunting Act, 6 August 1965, and may be hunted without licence anywhere 
except in protected areas. Arrets No. 15, 26 December 1972, establishes 
licence fees for the capturing of live reptiles. 

Kenya Protected under Legal Notice No. 152 (25 September 1981), export 

being prohibited (Broadley, 1983). Probably present in all Kenya's National 

Parks, except Mt. Kenya and Sibilot, too high and too dry, respectively (A.D. 

MacKay, In lltt., 26 March 1986). 

Liberia The Wildlife Conservation Regulation (in draft, 1985) lists Python 
sebae as fully protected. Trade in and export of fully and partially 
protected species is prohibited except for educational or scientific purposes. 

Malawi Hunting, possession, trade and export of game is controlled under 
the Game Act, 1953. No reptiles, other than crocodiles, are protected. 

Mali All snakes are classified as game species under the Hunting Act, 11 
November 1969. There is a general close season from 1 June to 31 October. A 
general hunting ban (Decree 325/PG-RM) throughout the country was imposed on 6 
November 1978. 

Mauritania Under the Hunting and Wildlife Protection Act, 15 January 1975, 
the capture, possession, sale and export of live wild animals requires a 
commercial capture permit. The sale of game meat is prohibited. 

Mozambique 

Namibia Protected by the Nature Conservation Ordinance (Namibia Department 
of Agriculture and Nature Conservation, in lltt., 1987). 

Niger All hunting for utilitarian purposes has been prohibited in Niger 
since 1972 (Niger CITES MA, 1986). 

Nigeria Python sebae is listed as fully protected in the Endangered 
Species (control of International Trade and Traffic) Decree, 20 April 1985. 
Their hunting, capture, trade and export is prohibited. 

Rwanda Pythons are apparently not protected. 

Senegal The Game and Wildlife Protection Regulations, 30 May 1967, lay down 
regulations governing the issuance of licences for hunting and commercial 
capturing of wildlife. 

Sierra Leone Under the Wildlife Conservation Act, No. 27, 1972, pythons are 
classified as game animals with an unlimited quota, they may only be hunted by 
those in possession of a valid game licence. 

Somalia Pythons are listed as game animals under the Law on Fauna (Hunting) 
and Forest, 25 January 1969. They may only be hunted or exported under 
licence. A ban on all hunting was instituted on 13 October 1977. 

South Africa P. sebae occurs in 14 nature reserves in Natal and several 
in Zululand (South Africa CITES MA, 1987). 

283 



Python sebae 

Sudan Pythons are listed in the Ordinance for the Preservation of Wild 
Animals, 1935 (Amended 1974), as species for which hunting is permitted. 
Licences are only required if firearms are used for hunting. The Hides and 
Skins (Export) Regulations, 1969, specify a grading system for the export of 
reptile skins. 

Swaziland Apparently no reptiles are protected in Swaziland. 

Tanzania P. sebae is classified as big game under the Wildlife 
Conservation Act, 30 June 1974. It may not be hunted or killed without a 
valid hunting licence. The capture of all live animals requires a valid 
capture permit, and the hunting of all animals requires a valid hunting permit. 

Togo P. sebae is classified as a pest species under the Ordinance on 
Wildlife Protection and Hunting, 16 January 1968. An enabling decree, dated 4 
June 1980, sets out licence fees for hunting and commercial capture, but there 
is no bag limit for the species. 

Uganda Protected under the Game Act by Statutory instrument No. 20 of 31 
October 1980 (Uganda Game Department, In lltt., 28 March 1987). 

Zaire The commercial capture of unprotected animals requires a permit under 
the Hunting Act, 28 Nay 1982. Export can only be authorised if the exporter 
holds a certificate of lawful possession. 

Zambia Pythons are listed as game animals in the National Parks and 
Wildlife Act, 3 December 1968, under which their hunting, possession, trade 
and export are controlled and fees are set for the export of trophies and live 
animals. 

Zimbabwe Python sebae is declared a specially protected animal under the 
Parks and Wildlife Act, 1975. The collection of live reptiles and their eggs 
and their breeding in captivity are controlled under licence by the Parks and 
Wildlife (General) Regulations, 1981. 

CAPTIVE BREEDING A recent inventory (Slavens, 1985) lists 37 specimens in 9 
collections, with breeding in two groups; the total number in captivity will 
be much higher than this. 

REFERENCES 

Branch, W.R. and Hacke, D. (1980). A fatal attack on a young boy by an African 

Rock Python Python sebae. Journal of Herpetology 14(3): 305-307. 
Broadley, D.G. (1983). In lltt., 10 August (draft RDB account for 

P. s. natalensls) . 
Broadley, D.G. (1984). A review of geographical variation in the African 

Python Python sebae (Gmelin). British Journal of Herpetology 6(10): 

359-367. 
Broadley, D.G. and Blake, D.K. (1979). A check list of the reptiles of the 

national parks and other conservation areas of Zimbabwe (Rhodesia). 

Arnoldla, Rhodesia 8(35): 1-15. 
Broadley D.G., and Cock, E.V. (1975). Snakes of Rhodesia. Longman Rhodesia 

(Pvt) Ltd., Salisbury, 152 pp. 
Butler, I. A., and Shitu, E. (1985). Uses of some reptiles by the Yoruba 

people of Nigeria. Herpetologlcal Review 16(1): 15-16. 
Cansdale G.S. (1961). West African Snakes. Longmans, London, 74 pp. 
Fagotto, F. (1985). Larger animals of Somalia in 1984. Environmental 

Conservation 12: 260-264. 
Fitzsimmons, V.F.M. (1962). Snakes of Southern Africa. Purnell, Cape Town, 

423 pp. 



284 



Python sebae 

Fuchs, K. (1975). Chemistry and technology of novelty leather. FAO, Rome, 

201 pp. 
HaJcansson, N.T. (1981). An annotated checklist of reptiles known to occur in 

the Gambia. Journal of Herpetology 15: 155-161. 
Madsen, T., Loman , J., Hebrard, J. and Duff-Mackay, A. (1985). A survey of 

the reptile fauna in Kora Game Reserve. Unpublished report. 
McLachlan, G.R. (1978). South African Red Data Book - Reptiles and 

Amphibians. South African National Scientific Programme Report No. 23. 
Miller, T., and Smith, H.M. (1979). The Lesser African Rock Python. 

Bulletin of the Maryland Her petolog leal Society 15: 70-84. 
Morgan-Davis, A.M., Dudley, CO. and Meredith, H.M. (1984). Additions to the 

vertebrate fauna of Lilondwe National Park, Malawi. Nyala 10(2): 91-98. 
Pakenham, R.H.W. (1983). The reptiles and amphibians of Zanzibar and Pemba 

Islands. Journal of the East African Natural History Society and 

National Museum. 177: 1-40. 
Pitman, C.R.S. (1974). A guide to the snakes of Uganda. Revised edition. 

Wheldon and Wesley, Codicote, 290 pp. 
Pope, C..H. (1961). The giant snakes. Routledge and Keagan Paul, London, 
297 pp. 
Simonetta, A.M. and Magnoni, M.L. (1986). Status and conservation problems of 

Somali lower vertebrates. Rlvlsta dl Agrlcoltura Subtroplcale e 

Troplcale 80(3): 405-432. 
Slavens, F.L. (1985). Inventory of live reptiles and amphibians In captivity, 

current January 1, 2985. F.L. Slavens, Seattle, Washington, 341 pp. 



285 



Recommended list: 3 
[No problem] 
OrnltJiopteza caelestls (Rothschild, 1898) 

Phylum ARTHROPODA Order INSECTA 

Class LEPIDOPTKRA Family PAPILIONIDAK 

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS Otnlthoptera caelestls, generally considered as a 
subspecies of O. prlamus. Is endemic to the Louisiade Archipelago, Papua 
New Guinea. Although not common, there are believed to be strong populations 
of O. caelestls on three islands. It normally inhabits hills and mountains 
and its feeding habits are similar to those of O. prlamus. 

Otnlthoptera caelestls is not threatened, although it has a rather limited 
distribution. International trading is virtually entirely in specimens reared 
ex-pupae and sold via the PNG Government Insect Farming and Trading Agency 
(IFTA). Present maximum sales in the order of 1000-lSOO specimens per year 
are well within acceptable limits and pose no threat to caelestls. Indeed, 
the IFTA, through the PNG Government, could be encouraged to expand Its 
operations in deadstock, and, more particularly, in livestock (for butterfly 
houses). An increase in commercial contact between the IFTA and entrepreneurs 
in retailing centres might be advisable. CITES statistics show very low 
levels of trade in 1984 and 198S but the numbers may have increased after the 
the lifting of the EEC ban on birdwing Imports In 1987. 

Conservation and utilization of birdwlngs are mutually reinforcing in PNG The 
IFTA and government agencies responsible for protected areas could work 
together to ensure that sufficient wild habitat remains to ensure a 
sustainable yield of caelestls and other species. The trading operations 
could go hand in hand with conservation efforts on behalf of threatened 
subspecies and species of birdwlngs. Threatened taxa are described in the 
Swallowtail Red Data Book (Collins and Morris, 1985). 

Taxonomic note : Only D'Abrera (1975) of the recent authors considers 
caelestls to be a separate species. Haugum and Low (1978-79), after 
detailed examination of genital and other characteristics, found this to be *a 
highly unwarranted separation for which we fall to find any support'. Hancock 
(1983) follows this decision, as do Collins and Morris (1985) In the 
Swallowtail Red Data Book. The CITES listings follow D'Abrera and hence this 
separate report becomes necessary, but on scientific grounds it is not 
justifiable. 



DISTRIBUTION Otnlthoptera caelestls is confined to the Louisiade 
Archipelago, off the south-eastern trip of the Papua New Guinea mainland 
(Haugum and Low, 1978-79). 



POPULATION Described by Haugum and Low (1978-79) as localised and generally 
uncommon to fairly rare. However, Pyle and Hughes (1978) suggest that Misima, 
Nemoa and Hemenahei Islands all support strong populations. 

Interestingly, there is evidence from caelestls that overcollecting has the 
capacity to decrease populations or even cause local extinction. A number of 



286 



Ornlthoptera caelestls 

observers on the Louisiade island of Nemoa concurred that the population of 
caelestls was badly depressed for some years after the removal of several 
hundred specimens by expatriate collectors. The species was reintroduced to 
the site from another part of the island and subsequently flourished (Pyle and 
Hughes, 1978). In contrast, Pyle and Hughes (1978) present evidence that 
fairly heavy, but nevertheless carefully controlled, levels of cropping were 
sustained by caelestls on Hisima Island. In this instance several dozen 
larvae and pupae were removed from a colony every season. 



HABITAT AND KCOLOCY O. caelestls is a denizen of hills and mountains, 
with small populations at around 100 m, but rarely at sea-level. The feeding 
habits are similar to O. prlamus with larvae on at least two species of 
Azlstolochla. 



THREATS TO SURVIVAL The level of threat to caelestls is difficult to 
assess. Haugum and Low (1978-79) indicate that the taxon is rather rare, 
while Fenner (In lltt., 1983) and Mutton (In lltt., 1983) concur and 
express fears for its future. Conversely, Pyle and Hughes (1978) describe how 
caelestls quiclcly developed a strong colony on Arlstolochla vines growing 
prolifically on the young tree invaders of an abandoned garden. This level of 
adaptability is confirmed by the success of butterfly ranchers in the 
Louisiades, who attract caelestls to their gardens. Azlstolochla vines 
are trained up trellises and the butterflies breed within the gardens. Some 
farmers, able to recognise the wild Arlstolochla, take care to protect the 
plants when they create new gardens (Pyle and Hughes, 1978). On balance, 
caelestls seems adaptable and resilient, unlikely to be seriously 
threatened. However, the Louisiades are certainly in need of representative 
protected areas, to ensure the survival of strong, wild colonies in natural 
conditions. 

IKTKRKATIONAL TEtADE Table 1 shows the levels of imports of caelestls, 
1980-85. The figures for 1980-1982 are of little value since Papua New Guinea 
did not submit a report to CITES in those years. The report for 1983 is 
probably an accurate representation of imports, while the data for 1984 are 
difficult to assess. Recent data from the IFTA indicated 1985 sales of 932 
specimens, slightly up on previous years (Clark., P.B., In lltt., 1986) but 
the Papua New Guinea report for that year included the export of only one 
specimen. Commercial exports during 1986 reportedly totalled 851 specimens 
(Papua New Guinea CITES HA, 1987). 

Theoretically, none of the EEC countries should have licensed the import of 
caelestls during the period 1983 to 1986 because of the birdwing inclusion 
on Annex C(l) of EEC Regulation 3626/82. In this regulation to implement 
CITES, all CITES Appendix II butterflies were effectively treated as Appendix 
I, thus prohibiting import. All birdwings except Ornlthoptera alexandrae 
were removed to Annex C(2) of the regulation during 1987. 

Papua New Guinea is the only country of origin caelestls, the taxon being 
endemic to the Louisiades Archipelago. Table 2 reflects this situation; 
figures for Germany and Japan being the result of incorrect reporting. 



287 



Ornlthoptera caelestls 

Table 1. Hinimuin net imports of Ornlthoptera caelestls 
dead specimens reported to CITES, 1980-1984. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



198S 



F.R. 



Australia 

Canada 

France 

Germany, 

Ireland 

Italy 

Japan 

Norway 

Singapore 

Switzerland 

UK 

USA 

Unknown 



275 



96 



42 



22 


5 


- 


2 


229 


- 


45 


65 


4 


- 


4 


_ 


64 


- 


2 


- 


4 


- 


14 


8 


29 


- 


280 


- 


48 


- 



Total 



96 



317 



745 



80 



The caelestls material exported by the Insect Farming and Trading Agency, a 
government controlled body, is all farmed from pupae (Clark, P.B., In lltt., 
1983, Fenner, 1976, National Research Council, 1983). In other words, the 
specimens are collected as pupae from Arlstolochla vines tended specially 
for the purpose of attracting birdwings. The pupae are hatched in protected 
conditions and the adults killed and delivered to the IFTA for export. With 
such perfect specimens in good supply, there would be no demand for 
wild-caught material, which is invariably damaged. Although PNG did not 
report to CITES 1980-1982, information in CMC files indicates that sales of 
caelestls between 1978 and 1982 totalled 4400. All of these were via the 
IFTA and the majority, if not all, were ex-pupa. According to recent 
information, the IFTA had to slow down the ranching operation in the 
Louisiades because of a glut of stock. No doubt this was partly the result of 
the unwarranted EEC ban on imports. The international trade in all fanned or 
ranched birdwings from Papua New Guinea is greatly to be encouraged. 

Table 2: Reported countries of origin (or exporting country if no original 
source reported) and quantities of transactions in dead specimens of 
Ornlthoptera caelestls 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Countries having wild populations 
Papua New Guinea - 80 



317 



745 



78 



Countries without wild populations 
Australia - 10 
Germany, F.R. 2 6 
Japan - - 



288 



Ornlthoptera caelestls 

CONSKRVATIOW MKASURKS O. caeiestis is not protected in Papua New Guinea, 
partly in recognition of its status, but largely because it is considered as a 
subspecies of prlamus, the inost abundant orni thopteran . Seven less coimnon 
species are fully protected. The best way to conserve caeiestis, 
paradoxically, is to maintain and extend its importance in international 
trading. Given sufficient natural habitat and encouragement from farmers who 
plant foodplants, the caeiestis population on the Louisiades could sustain a 
far greater trade than is currently being achieved. 

However, it is essential that the PNG government, in recognition of the 
growing potential of the insect trade, should put aside managment areas and 
protected areas in key sites for caeiestis and other birdwing butterflies. 
Detailed recommendations for the implementation of such a plan have already 
been prepared by Parsons (1985). 

CAPTIVE BREEDING It has not proved possible to breed Ornlthoptera species 

in captivity. Furthermore, it is not particularly desirable to to do so since 

this would threaten the PNG ranching programme. As stated above, ranched 
specimens are reared ex-pupae from wild parents. 

REFERENCES 

Anon. (1983). Butterfly Farming In Papua New Guinea. Managing Tropical 

Animal Resources Series. National Research Council, National Academy 

Press, Washington, D.C. 
Collins, N.H. and Morris, M.G. (1985). Threatened Swallowtail Butterflies of 

the World. The lUCN Red Data Book. lUCN, Cambridge and Gland; 

vii + 401 pp. + 8 col. pis. 
D'Abrera, B. (1975). Birdwing Butterflies of the World. Lansdowne Press, 

Melbourne. 260 pp. 
Fenner, T.L. (1976). Aspects of butterfly conservation in New Guinea. In: 

Lamb, K.P. and Cress itt, J.L. (Eds), Ecology and Conservation In Papua 

New Guinea. Wau Ecology Institute Pamphlet No. 2, 153 pp. 
Hancock, D.L. (1983). Classification of the Papilionidae (Lepidoptera) : a 

phylogenetic approach. Smit/iersia 2: 1-48. 
Haugum, J. and Low, A.M. (1978-1979). A Monograph of the Birdwing 

Butterflies. Vol. 1. The genus Ornlthoptera. Scandinavian Science 

Press, Klampenborg. 308 pp. 
Parsons, M. (1985). A conservation study of the birdwing butterflies, 

Ornlthoptera and Troides (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae) in Papua New 

Guinea. Unpublished report to the Department of Primary Industry, Bulolo, 

PNG 
Pyle, R.M. and Hughes, S.A. (1978). Conservation and utilization of the insect 

resources of Papua New Guinea. Consultants' report to the PNG Wildlife 

Branch. 157 pp. 



289 



NEW GUINEA, COMMON, COMMON GREEN OR 
PRIAM'S BIRDWING 

Ornlthoptera prlamus (L. , 17S8) 

Phylum ARTHROPODA 
Class LKPIDOPTERA 



Reconmended list: 3 
[No problem] 



Order 
Family 



INSECTA 
PAPILIONIDAE 



SOMMART AND CONCLUSIONS Ornlthoptera prlajnus , the most widespread species 
in the genus, occurs from the Aru Islands in the Moluccas, down to the Torres 
Strait Islands and Cape York's Iron Range in Australia. For the purpose of 
this paper, prlamus is deemed to include the subspecies prlanus , euphorlon, 
hecuba, arruana, poseldon, gebeensls, bolsduvall , admlralitatis , 
bomemannl , and miokensis. Under CITES the taxa richmondia^ caelestis 
and urviJJianus are treated separately. O. prlamus maintains high natural 
populations because its foodplant, Arlstolochla tagala, is a vigorous vine 
that occurs wherever forest vegetation is regrowing after disturbance. Many 
other Arlstolochla spp., and their associated blrdwings, only survive in 
climax forest. O. prlamus is reportedly not threatened, but the 
restricted subspecies miokensis (Duke of York Is.) is Endangered, 
euphorlon (Queensland) is Indeterminate, bolsduvall (Woodlark Is.) Is 
Rare, the form demophanes (Trobriand Is.) of the subspecies poseldon is 
Rare, the subspecies hecuba (Kai Is.) and arruana (Aru Is.) are cause for 
concern and gebeensls is Insufficiently Known. The overwhelming source of 
threat to subspecies of concern is destruction of their natural habitat. 



The trade in O. prlamus Isensu D'Abrera, 197S) apparently involved about 
1500 specimens a year between 1980 and 1983, a maximum of 2500 specimens in 
1984 and about 5000 in 1985. The bulk of the trade involved the subspecies 
poseldon and admlralitatis , neither of which is threatened. Furthermore, 
the trade is almost entirely via the Insect Farming and Trading Agency (IFTA) 
In Papua New Guinea, a government-controlled organization which buys blrdwings 
that are reared from pupae by butterfly ranchers. Trading does not represent 
a threat to O. prlamus. Indeed, the IFTA, through the P.N.G. government, 
could be encouraged to expand its operations in deadstock and, more 
particularly, to begin trading in livestock (for butterfly houses) An 
expansion of the industry to include more species might also be recommended. 
An increase in contact between the IFTA and entrepreneurs in retailing centres 
might be advisable, but since CITES statistics show that a large proportion of 
the trade is with Europe, it is important that the EEC ban on birdwing imports 
(Regulation 3626/82) be lifted as quickly as possible (except for the 
Endangered O. alexandrae) . 



Conservation and utilisation of blrdwings In Papua New Guinea are mutually 
reinforcing. The P.N.G. Government could set up more protected areas as a 
source of wild birdwing stock and of course to conserve blrdwings and other 
forms of wildlife. Trading operations could go hand in hand with conservation 
efforts on behalf of threatened subspecies and species of blrdwings. 
Threatened taxa are described in the Swallowtail Red Data Book (Collins and 
Morris, 1985). 

Taxonomlc note: conservation considerations are confused by nomenclatural 
Inconsistencies. While there Is general agreement as to the taxa or forms to 
which the ancestral prlamus has given rise In its spread through the Papuan 
region, there remains much disagreement as to the precise status of these 
forms, i.e. whether they are still only subspecies, or whether their 
appearance, behaviour and distribution merit full specific status. 



290 



Ornlthoptera prlamus 

DISTRIBUTIOW The genus Ornlthoptera (sensu Haugum and Low, 1978-79) is 
confined to New Guinea and its offshore islands (part of Indonesia and all of 
Papua New Guinea), the Solomon Islands, the Indonesian Maluku Islands 
(Moluccas) and the Australian states of Queensland and New South Wales. 

Ornlthoptera prlamus is the most widespread species in the genus, extending 
throughout this range, from Ceram and Ambon through New Guinea and the islands 
of the Papuan group to the Solomon Islands in the east and N.E. Australia in 
the south (Haugum and Low, 1978-79). The taxonomic situation and distribution 
of each taxon is summarized in Table 1 below. 

POPULATION No precise information is available on densities and total 
populations of any subspecies of O. prlamus. Indeed, such data are rare for 
any butterfly. However, there is general agreement that O. prlamus is the 
most widespread and successful of the Ornlthoptera. It is classified as not 
threatened in the lUCN Swallowtail Red Data Book; (Collins and Morris, 1985). 
The breadth of distribution of the numerous subspecies is so variable that 
each needs to be considered separately. 

Australia 

O. p. euphorlon, commonly known as the Cairns Birdwing, appears to have some 
populations of a high density. It is recorded as common at various localities 
around Cairns itself, but for other historically important locations there are 
no recent statements (Haugum and Low, 1978-79). It is generally considered 
that euphorlon is less numerous than it was previously, although there are 
few substantiated records. Haugum and Low, however, state that 'there is no 
doubt ... that at certain localities where the imagines have been collected in 
quantity for commercial purposes, the numbers have been drastically reduced in 
recent years.' Other populations have also suffered. D'Abrera (1975) 
believed that a reduction in the number of adults in the Etty Bay area south 
of Cairns is due to over-collecting, although this statement requires 
substantiation. 

Indonesia 

O. p. prlamus from Ceram and Ambon in the Moluccas is supposedly common in 
nature, but there are few published observations and no recent ones (Haugum 
and Low, 1978-79). For the present it is regarded as not threatened. 

O. p. gebeensls, only recently described from Gebe island, between Waigeo 
and Halmahera (Parrott, 1985), is lacking in all but taxonomic information. 
It is classified as Insufficiently Known until such time as its conservation 
status on this small, 500 sq. km., island may be properly assessed. 

O. p. hecuba from the Kai Islands suffers from a lack of recent data and 
little is known of its status, but it appears not to be rare in the coastal 
areas of the main islands. It is known to have been abundant early this 
century, when various aberrations were described (Haugum and Low, 1978-79). 
This subspecies should perhaps be classified as Rare in view of its restricted 
distribution. Data on the extent of suitable habitat are needed. 

O. p. poseldon see notes under Papua New Guinea. 



291 



Oznlthoptera prlamus 
Table 1: 



The systematics, distribution and lUCK category of the 
Oznlthoptera prlamus subspecies listed by Haugun and Low 
(1978-79). D'Abrera (1975), the authority used by CITES, 
recognised three of these as separate species while Hancock (1983) 
recognised two as separate species. Collins and Morris (198S), in 
the Swallowtail Red Data Book., followed Hancock's classification. 



Authors 



Distribution 



Haugum 
& Low 
(1978) 



D'Abrera 
(1975) 



Hancock 
(1983) 



lUCN 

Threat 

Category 



1. rlchmondla 

2 . euphorlon 

3 . prl amus 

4. gebeensls 

5 . hecuba 

6 . arruana 

7 . poseldon 



8. bolsduvali 

9. admlralltatls 

10 . bornewannl 

11. mlokensls 

12. caelestls 

13. urvllllanus 



Australia (Queensland, I 

New South Wales) 
Australia (N. Queensland) I 
Indonesia (Ceram, Ambon) nt 
Indonesia (Gebe Island) K 
Indonesia (iCai, Walim, R? 

Laut) 
Indonesia (Aru, off E? 

Halmahera) 
Papua New Guinea and nt 

Irian Jaya (Waigeo main- 
land and adjacent islands), 

Australia (Cape York) 
Papua New Guinea R 

(Woodlark Is.) 
Papua New Guinea nt 

(Admiralty Is . ) 
Papua New Guinea nt 

(New Britain) 
Papua New Guinea E 

(Duke of York Is. ) 
Papua New Guinea nt 

(Louisiades) 
Papua New Guinea (New nt 

Hanover, New Ireland), 

Solomon Is. 



* = recognized by author(s) as a subspecies of O. prlamus 

+ = recognized by author as a full species 

= unknown to these authors; described by Parrott (1985) 

Various forms of O. p. poseldon are occasionally cited or sold as separate 
subspecies. These include: 

teucrus from Biak and Schouten 

archldeus from Waigeo 

pronomus or macalplnel from Cape York (Iron Range) 

demophanes from Ferguson, Trobriands 

cronlus from SW coast of New Guinea 



292 



Ornlthoptera priamus 

O. p. azruana, from the Aru Islands, is unknown, but it is probably not too 
unconmon. Most populations are apparently near the coast (Haugum and Low, 
1978-79). The subspecies should perhaps be classified as Rare in view of its 
limited distribution; data on habitat are needed to assess the question of 
threat . 

Papua New Guinea Parsons (1985) reports that the species O. priamus is 
locally common to abundant, generally common and very widespread. This is 
encouraging since P.N.G. is currently the main exporting country of origin. 

O. p. poseldon probably ranges over the whole of mainland New Guinea and the 
offshore islands. It certainly occurs from Waigeo in the west to thf> 
Trobriands and D'Entrecasteaux in the east, and south into the extreme 
northern Cape York Peninsula of Australia and in the Iron Range (Haugum and 
Low, 1978-79). Locally abundant, it is usually found at low or medium 
altitudes up to 1500 m, particularly in coastal areas. Generally little is 
known of its status, but its range in P.N.G. is now known to span the whole 
mainland (Parsons, 1985) and it is certainly the most abundant ornithopteran. 
There is a marked lack of information on the populations of poseldon in 
Irian Jaya, including all southern districts, most western, and the Indonesian 
islands (Haugum and Low, 1978-79), although Parsons (1985) implies that it is 
at least as abundant there as it is in the Papuan part of New Guinea. Morris 
{In lltt., 1986) recently travelled in Irian Jaya and found poseldon to be 
very widespread. The subspecies as a whole is therefore listed as not 
threatened. However, the form demophanes (sometimes listed as a separate 
subspecies) is restricted to the Trobriand Islands, which are generally 
heavily populated and deforested. With severe destruction of its habitat and 
intermittent heavy collecting pressure, the status of demophanes is a matter 
for concern (Fenner, In lltt., 1983; Hutton, In lltt., 1983). In 1978 it 
was reported to be numerous in a small area of Kiriwina, but elsewhere in the 
Trobriands to have very little suitable habitat remaining (Pyle and Hughes, 
1978) . 

O. p. bolsduvall is endemic to the small island of Woodlark, east of the 
P.N.G. mainland and isolated between the South Solomon Sea and the Louisiade 
Archipelago. It is very poorly represented in collections, and its status is 
unknown, probably fairly rare (Haugum and Low, 1978-79). The P.N.G. Insect 
Farming and Trading Agency has organized the collecting of some material since 
the 1970s. It is classified as Rare on account of its very restricted 
distribution and possible threats to its habitat. 

O. p. admlralltatls, from Manus, the main island of the Admiralty group, is 
believed to be widespread within the confines of its 80 km-long island, but 
rather localised. Ebner (1971) found it to be common, flying throughout the 
year. It is not regarded as threatened. 

O. p. bornemannl from New Britain and the adjacent islands is reportedly 
generally widespread and locally abundant, especially in suitable localities 
along the seashores (Haugum and Low 1978-79). Females are said to be not 
infrequent in certain coastal coconut plantations. Its present status is 
unknown, but it is unlikely to be in serious decline and is classified as not 
threatened. 

O. p. mlokensls is known only from the small group called the Duke of York 
Islands. It was once referred to as not rare but is now known to have been 
declining in recent years as a result of the high human populations and 



293 



Ornlthopteza prlanus 

intense agricultural activity in its main habitat areas. Pyle and Hughes 
(1978) visited the Duke of Yorks in the course of a consultancy on P.N.G. 
butterflies. They concluded that 'the Duke of Yorks ... have been nearly 
obliterated as diverse butterfly habitat.' They considered mlokensls to be 
threatened with extinction, not from collecting but from sheer displacement. 
Believed to be extirpated from its type locality of Mioko and with no suitable 
habitat on Hilmila, it may be confined to a SO ha site on one end of Ulu 
Island. It is therefore classified as Endangered. There is a possibility 
that Mlokensls is a hybrid between urvlllanus and bornemaiml , but so far 
no substantiating evidence has been published. 

HABITAT AND ECOLOGY Ornlthoptera prlanus, probably the most successful 
species in the genus, has adapted to a range of diverse habitats and is 
oligophagous, feeding on a number of Arlstolochla species in the larval 
stage but usually on Arlstolochla tagala. Arlstolochla, commonly called 
the Dutchman's Pipe Vine, has a distinctive flower with a single, prolonged 
lip-like petal and typically a tubular throat and swollen, rounded, basal 
chamber that encloses the stamens etc. The flbwer can be 90 mm in length and 
the leaves are also large, being heartshaped and up to 200 mm or so long. 
Vines reach up to 10 m but are more commonly 3-5 m high. 

O. prlamus occurs exclusively in marginal and open secondary forest, where 
A. tagala, unlike other species, grows well. A. tagala grows fast and can 
host large numbers of caterpillars (Clark, P.B., in iiCt., 1986). Habitat 
includes forest margins, large regrowth areas within mature secondary or 
climax forest and strand vegetation above high tides. O. prlamus flies and 
breeds up to 1000 m altitude and adults occur up to ISOO m. 

Adults take just over two months to develop from the egg, and may survive for 
over 3 months. Females could lay an estimated 630 eggs, at a rate of seven 
eggs per day for three months, but lifespans will vary. 

Parasitism by encyrtid wasps and predation by Oecophylla ants can be high at 
times, but losses of larvae and pupae are relatively low as a result of 
sequestration of unpalatable by-products from the foodplant (Clark, P.B., in 
lltt., 1986). As would be expected, a variety of opportunistic predators 
(including man) have been observed, but attacks by chalcid wasps and other 
parasitoids are rare (Parsons, 1985). 

THREATS TO SURVIVAL The species Ornlthoptera prlamus is not under threat, 
being widespread and abundant in many localities. However, some of the 
subspecies give cause for concern (see Table 1 and comments under Populations). 

Collecting and trade would not normally represent a threat to healthy and 
widespread butterfly populations, and this is certainly the case for 
subspecies prlamus, poseldon, admlralltatls and bornemannl . Some other 
subspecies, notably mlokensls and possibly bolsduvall, have suffered 
setbacks through habitat destruction, often within the already narrow confines 
of a restricted vegetation type or small island. In these cases trading needs 
to be particularly carefully controlled, but it is at present extremely low 
and represents no threat. The subspecies gebeensls, only described in 1985, 
could be in demand as a novelty. The situation of this taxon needs to be 
investigated and monitored. 

IWTERWATIOKAL TRADE Table 2 shows the minimum net imports of Ornlthoptera 
prlamus reported to CITES, 1980-85. Table 3 is a breakdown of these imports 
between the various subspecies. The bulk of the trade was in subspecies 
poseldon and admlralltatls, neither of which are under threat. Trade in 



294 



Ornlthoptera prlamus 

threatened subspecies is minimal. The five major importers were Switzerland, 
Federal Republic of Germany, Spain, France and the U.S.A. Theoretically, none 
of the EEC countries should have licensed the import of prlamus or any other 
birdwing during 1983, 1984 or 1985 because of the inclusion of birdwings in 
Annex CI of EEC Regulation 3626/82. In this regulation to implement CITES, 
all CITES Appendix II butterflies were effectively treated as Appendix I, thus 
prohibiting import. All birdwings except Ornlthoptera alexandrae were 
removed to Annex C(2) of the regulation during 1987. 

Table 2: Minimum net imports of Priam's birdwing (Ornlthoptera prlamus) 
butterfly bodies (all subspecies) reported to CITES, 1980-1985. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Australia 

Canada 

Colombia 

France 

Germany 

Ireland 

Italy 

Japan 

Norway 

Singapore 

Spain 

Sri Lan)ca 

Switzerland 

UK 

USA 

Vanuatu 

Unknown 



F.R. 



371 



59 



250 
94 



38 



48 


36 


5 


1 


16 


1 


- 


- 


25 


243 


_ 


_ 


75 


— 


_ 


20 


- 


— 


6 


_ 


_ 


34 


29 


106 


2 


_ 


_ 


9 


_ 


_ 


10 


- 


_ 


- 


1 


- 


21 


23 


6 


82 


11 


3 


451 


8 


28 


2 


- 


- 


332 


_ 


_ 



Total 



59 



344 



413 



1336 



124 



174 



Table 3: Brealcdown of imports of Ornlthoptera prlamus into subspecies: 



Subspecies 


1980 


1981 


1982 


1983 


1984 


1985 


euphorlon 




4 






2 


34 


hecuba 


- 


- 


- 


- 


2 


- 


arruana 


- 


- 


- 


- 


2 


- 


poseldon 


1 


- 


228 


1080 


HI 


114 


admiral Itatls 


_ 


8 


186 


256 


5 


- 


bornemannl 


- 


- 


1(?) 


- 


- 


- 


mlokensls 


- 


- 


1(7) 


- 


- 


- 


Unknown 


58 


332 


- 


- 


2 


26 


Total 


59 


344 


413 


1336 


124 


174 



295 



Ornlthoptera prlamus 

Table 4 gives the reported countries of origin, 1980-85. Reported export of 

euphorlon from Australia was quite low, probably because the taxon is 

protected in Queensland and only available for export when accompanied by an 
expensive licence. 

No exports are reported from Indonesia, where O. priamus is protected (see 
below). However, 'protection' implies that collecting is permitted under 
licence. Only 'strictly protected* species may not be taken under any 
circumstances. Indonesia must have been the origin of at least the two 
specimens each of hecuba and arruana. 

Papua New Guinea is the only significant exporter of Ornithopteca prlamus 
during the 1980s. Unfortunately, P.N.G. did not produce proper reports to 
CITES in 1980, 1981 or 1982, so that CITES statistics are unreliable for those 
years. However, from Information on file at CMC, between lAOO and 1600 
specimens were believed to have been exported by the Insect Farming and 
Trading Agency (IFTA) during that year. Data for the year 1985 Indicate that 
sales of prlamus through IFTA amounted to 24'22 specimens (Clark, P.B., in 
lltt., 1986). This figure does not Include a further 2383 specimens of 
urvllllanus and 932 specimens of caelestls and it is far higher than the 
number reported to have been exported in the P.N.G. report to CITES for 1985. 
Commercial exports for 1986 were reported to have Included: 6201 poseldon; 
695 admlralltatus; and 57 bornBmannl (P.N.G. CITES HA, 1987). Fenner (in 
lltt., 1976) considered the world market could absorb 5000 pairs per year of 
poseldon alone. 

Table 4: Reported countries of origin (or exporting country if no original 
source reported) and quantities of transactions in dead specimens of 
Ornl thop tera prl amus . 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Countries having wild populations: 



Australia 
P.N.G. * 

(1500) 

Countries without wild populations 



46 


- 


2 


250 


413 


1337 


(1400) 


(1600) 





110 



79 
94 



Germany, F.R. 

France 

Philippines 



59 



48 



10 



10 
4 



Papua New Guinea did not report its exports to CITES in 1980-1982. 
Figures In brackets are estimated from information held in CMC files. 



The Implication is that these figures are well within the limits that wild 
populations can sustain and that trade in prleanus subspecies during 
1980-1985 posed no threat whatsoever to wild populations. Indeed, the 
controlled marketing of birdwings by the IFTA is likely to encourage 
conservation of natural habitat as a source of butterflies. This is essential 
to sustain the birdwing butterfly ranching programme run by the IFTA, as well 
as its other trading activities. About 30 per cent of all butterflies 



296 



Ornlthoptera prlamus 

reaching the IFTA are ranched, the rest are collected as adults in the wild. 
However, over 50 per cent of revenue Is from the better quality ranched 
specimens (National Research Council, 1983). Collecting of wild adult 
birdwings is currently discouraged by IFTA because the specimens are 
invariably damaged and are thus of little value (Clark, P.B., in iict., 
1986). 

In recent years there has been a growing demand for birdwing pupae that can be 
reared and released in 'butterfly houses' in temperate countries. Essentially 
these places consist of glass-houses containing tropical plants, in which 
butterflies fly freely whilst visitors walk around and watch, photograph, or 
even touch them. The benefits in educational terms are very high, whllo 
reductions in wild populations are minimal. For these reasons the trade in 
livestock is to be encouraged. 

CONSERVATION HKASUHES 

Australia The species Ornlthoptera prlamus is protected under the 
Queensland Fauna Conservation Act of 1974. The intention of the law was 
undoubtedly to protect all three Australian taxa, poseldon^ euphorlon and 
rlchmondla, notwithstanding changes of taxonomic opinion since the law was 
passed. Specimens may be collected only under licence. Although 
over-collecting has undoubtedly been a p;:oblem in some areas, particularly for 
euphorlon and rlchmondla, habitat destruction probably constitutes the 
gravest danger in the long term. Parsons (1985) is of the opinion that of all 
the prlamus subspecies only the Australian euphorlon and rlchmondla 
(which Parsons includes cs a subspecies of prlamus) warrant conservation 
concern. There is, however, sufficient evidence to warrant concern for 
mlokensls too (see above). 

Indonesia Indonesia has included O. prlamus in its list of protected 
butterflies, published in a decree of 198C. As stated above, this means that 
butterflies may only be taken under licence. In effect this restricts world 
trade in the subspecies gebeensls , hecuba and arruana, endemic to Gebe 
Island, the Kai and Aru Islands respectively. It also restricts trade in 
poseldon from Waigeo, Irian Jaya and the offshore islands, l-^aving the 
market almost entirely to Papua New Guinea. The effect of this decree could, 
in the long term, be counter-productive. Whilst hindering the development of 
farming and ranching of this and other birdwing species, it does nothing to 
protect habitat. Indonesia is currently developing a system of protected 
areas for Irian Jaya; a marine reserve is proposed for the Aru Islands, and 
the proposed Kai Besar Reserve will cover 37 000 ha. It remains to be seen 
how effectively these protected areas will benefit birdwing butterflies. 

Papua New Guinea P.N.G. protected seven species of Ornlthoptera in 1968, 
but these did not include prlamus or any of its subspecies. The government 
realised that O. prlamus and Troldes obJongomaculatus were common and 
therefore did not warrant protection (Parsons, 1985). These two species are 
the cornerstones of the P.N.G. butterfly ranching programme. More recently, 
it has been proposed that O. vlctorlae, and possibly O. gollath, should be 
removed from the protected list and brought into trade. So far, however, no 
changes have been made. 

In a recent confidential report to the P.N.G. Government, M.J. Parsons has 
proposed a complex of protected sites throughout P.N.G., with a view to 
safeguarding the rarer species such as O. alexandrae, O. chlmaera, 
O. paradlsea and others. No response to the report has been made available 
to CMC. 



297 



Orni chop Cera prlamus 

CAPTIVE BRKEDING It has not proved possible to breed Ornlthoptera species 
in captivity. Indeed, it is not particularly desirable to to do so since this 
would threaten the existing P.N.G. ranching programme as well as incipient 
programmes in Irian Jaya and the Solomon Islands. As stated above, ranched 
specimens are reared ex-pupae from wild parents. 

RBFERSNCES 

Anon. (1983). Butterfly FArming In Papua New Guinea. Managing Tropical 

Animal Resources Series. National Research Council, National Academy 

Press, Washington, D.C. 
Collins, N.M. and Morris, M.G. (1985). Threatened Swallowtail Butterflies of 

the World. The lUCN Red Data Book. lUCN, Cambridge and Gland; 

vii + 401 pp. + 8 col. pis. 
D'Abrera, B. (1975). Blrdwlng Butterflies of the World. Lansdowne Press, 

Melbourne. 260 pp. 
Ebner, A.J. (1971). Some notes on the Papilionidae of Manus Island, New 

Guinea. Journal of the Lepldopterlsts' Society 25(1): 73-80. 
Fenner, T.L. (1976). Aspects of butterfly conservation in New Guinea. In: 

Lamb, K.P. and Gressitt, J.L. (Eds), Ecology and Conservation In Papua 

New Guinea. Wau Ecology Institute Pamphlet No. 2, 153 pp. 
Hancock., D.L. (1983). Classification of the Papilionidae (Lepidoptera) : a 

phylogenetic approach. Smlthersla 2: 1-A8. 
Haugum, J. and Low, A.M. (1978-1979). A Monograph of the Blrdwlng 

Butterflies. Vol. 1. The genus Ornlthoptera. Scandinavian Science 

Press, Klampenborg. 308 pp. 
Parrott, R.E. (1985). A new subspecies of Ornlthoptera prlamus, Linn, from 

Gebe Island, Indonesia. Paplllo International 2(3-4): 131-142. 
Parsons, M. (1985). A conservation study of the blrdwlng butterflies, 

Ornlthoptera and Troldes (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae) in Papua New 

Guinea. Unpublished report to the Department of Primary Industry, Bulolo, 

P.N.G. 
Pyle, R.M. and Hughes, S.A. (1978). Conservation and utilization of the insect 

resources of Papua New Guinea. Consultants' report to the PNC Wildlife 

Branch. 157 pp. 



298 



NANUS GREEN TREE SNAIL 

Papustyla pulcherrlma Rensch, 1931 

Phylum MOLLUSCA 
Class GASTROPODA 



Recomnended list: 2 
[Possible problem] 



Order STYLOMMATOPHORA 
Family CAMAENIDAE 



SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS This well knovm brilliant green tree snail is 
endemic to the rain forest of Manus Island, northern Papua New Guinea. Its 
restricted range malces it particularly vulnerable to large-scale deforestation 
which is not a problem at present but could easily become one as there is no 
protection of the Manus Island forests. Papua New Guinea is considering 
passing protective legislation for this species. Listed as Rare in the lUCN 
Invertebrate Red Data Book and as Endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species 
Act, it is much sought after by shell collectors. Although there is little 
information available, this species, like other Pacific tree snails, is 
probably vulnerable to over-collection. 

It is known that shells are exported to Japan, Australia and probably Europe, 
both as commercial consignments and in personal effects but, despite CITES 
listing, the trade has been very poorly monitored. A shipment of 300 shells 
was exported to the UK in 1981 via Australia and 1072 were reportedly exported 
to Thailand in 198S; there have been no other records of commercial shipments. 

A study of the distribution, ecology and population of this species is 
urgently required to provide the data for constructive recommendations for 
management of the trade. This must be one of the easiest CITES-llsted species 
for a customs officer to identify because of the unique colouration of the 
shell and accurate reporting of the trade should therefore be possible. 
Monitoring of the trade should be improved and the number of specimens leaving 
the country in personal as well as commercial consignments should be checked. 

DISTRIBUTION Manus Island, Admiralty Archipelago, northern Papua New Guinea 
(Clench and Turner, 1962). Few professional malacologlsts have collected 
specimens and those in museums have been obtained mainly by traders, explorers 
or Incidentally by collectors of other animal material. Precise locality data 
are therefore poor (Clench and Turner, 1962). The snail is known to occur 
several kilometres inland from Lorengau, the provincial capital, and can be 
collected along the main highway (Harrison Gagne, 1981; Wells, 1982) but may 
well occur in other less accessible areas of the forest. Frequently referred 
to under the old name of Papulna pulcherrlma. 



POPULATION Unknown. 



HABITAT AND ECOLOGY 



No scientific studies have been carried out on 
species, and the only information available is from anecdotal accounts, 
snail is restricted to rain forest. The main host trees 



are 



this 

The 

Dlllenla 



(Dilleniaceae) and Astronla (Melastomataceae) , although it may also be found 
on other species and on large climbing aroids. Only a few individuals are 
found in each tree. The snails are Inactive during the day and are found 
attached to the undersides of leaves, five or more metres above the ground 
(Harrison Gagne, 1981). 



299 



Papustyla pulcherzlnta 

THRKATS TO SURYIYAL The Nanus Green Tree Snail appears to be relatively 
host specific to trees with timber potential, and logging is almost certainly 
the main threat. In 1977 the snail was said to have retreated into the wilder 
central forests of the island and populations were thought to have been much 
reduced or eliminated by collecting and agriculture within a several mile 
radius of Lorengau (Pyle, In lltt., 1980). However, specimens were found 
quite easily near Lorengau in 1981 and there was little evidence of heavy 
collection. New roads were being opened up through the forest which could 
pose a potential threat through loss of habitat and increased accessibility 
for collectors. It has been reported that branches are cut down to obtain 
single snails (Harrison Gagne, 1981) but this seems unlikely as collectors 
generally climb the trees (Wells, 1982; Pitman, 1977). Nevertheless, 
collecting could pose a threat, given the restricted range of this species, 
and the possibility that the population is small and slow to replace itself. 

IWTBRMATIOWAL TRADE The shells are still used by Manus islanders for 
decorative purposes (Harrison Gagne, 1981). Its intense green coloration 
mak.es Papustyla pulcherrlma unique among land molluscs and as a result it is 
highly prized by shell collectors. The shell is often used in jewellery. In 
the 1970s collection was said to be heavy with large numbers being bought by 
tourists and exported by dealers (Pitman, 1977). However, the commercial 
export trade seems to have declined. Between January and June 1981, ISA 
shells were exported by the New Guinea Shell Agency. The decline was partly 
due to problems in the running of the shell agency; collectors were not 
receiving their payment and the agency staff showed little interest in 
promoting the business. 834 specimens had been collected and deposited at the 
Lorengau Department of Business Development that year but were not being 
forwarded to the agency until payment for past consignments was received 
(Wells, 1982). The current status of the agency is not known. The following 
figures were reported to CITES between 1980 and 198A: 

Table 1 Minimum net imports of Papustyla pulcherzlma shells reported by 
CITES Parties. All of this trade reportedly originated in PNG. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



198A* 



1985 



Australia 

Thailand 

UK 

USA 



1072 



300 
1 



PNG did not supply annual reports to CITES for the years 1980-1982. 

* 17 640 carvings of this species were reportedly imported by USA from Taiwan 
in 1984 - this is almost certainly an error in the CITES report and this 
figure probably refers to black coral, Antipatharia; it is most unlikely that 
such large numbers of shells are being exported from Papua New Guinea and the 
import would presumably have been illegal. 

Despite the decline in the trade, the CITES reports clearly underestimate the 
total international trade. For example, considerable numbers of shells go to 
Japan (Wells, 1982; Kwapena in lltt., 1985) and large numbers were on sale 
in Australia in 1979 (Bruggen In lltt., 1981). 



300 



Papustyla pulchetrlma 

COWSKKYATIOW MKASURKS It is listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered 
Species Act and imports into the USA are prohibited. 

Logging poses the greatest threat to this species at present and reserves 
should be created in appropriate sites to provide protection for snail 
populations should large-scale logging commence. Papua New Guinea is 
considering passing protective legislation for this species (Kwapena, In 
lltt., 1985). If the current trade is no larger than it appears, it is 
unlikely to be having any major impact on populations, but it is possible that 
there is a significant amount of unrecorded trade. Monitoring of the trade 
should be improved, and the number of specimens leaving the country in 
personal as opposed to commercial consignments should be checked. This must 
be one of the easiest CITES-listed species for a customs officer to identify 
because of the unique coloration of the shell and accurate reporting of the 
trade should therefore be possible. A thorough study of the distribution, 
ecology and population of this species is urgently required to provide the 
data for constructive recommendations for management of the trade. In 1981, 
local people and expatriates were largely ignorant of the CITES listing of 
this species and the need for export permits (Wells, 1982), and there was a 
clear requirement for a public awareness campaign. The Nanus Green Snail is 
only one of a number of land and tree snails being collected for export in 
Papua New Guinea (Wells, 1982). Since most of these are barely known to 
science the opportunity should be tak.en of obtaining live specimens for 
anatomical studies, and surveys and ecological studies should be carried out 
to determine more precisely their distribution patterns and population biology. 

CAPTIYK BREEDING No attempts at captive breeding known but at one time 
Nanus villagers attempted to 'farm' snails by collecting them from the wild 
and raising them in large cages; this was unsuccessful. 

REFERENCES 

Clench, W.J., and Turner, R.D. (1962). Monographs of the genera Papustyla, 

Forcartla, and Mellobba (Papulnlnae: Camaenldae) . The Malacological 

Society of Australia. 
Harrison Gagne, B. (1981). Up a tree with the Manus green snai? . Hawaiian 

Shell News 24(5) N.S. 257:1, 8-9. 
Pitman, R.W. (1977). Manus Island's green tree snails at home. Hawaiian Shell 

News 25(A), N.S. 208: 9-10. 
Wells, S.M. (1982). Marine Conservation in the Philippines and Papua New 

Guinea with special emphasis on the ornamental coral and shell trade. 

Report to Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, London. 



301 



BLACK (WHIP) CORAL 

Cirrhlpathes angulna Dana 

Phylum CNIDARIA 
Class ANTHOZOA 



Order 
Family 



Recommended list: 2 
[Possible problem] 



ANTIPATHARIA 
ANTIPATHIDAE 



SUMMARY AND COKCLUSIOWS 



Cirrhlpathes angulna is a 

distribution and is found attached to 
unlike many black, corals. 



whip coral with a wide 
rocks and coral reefs, 
Data on the ecology, 



Indo-Pacif ic 

often at shallow depths 

abundance and distribution of all black and whip corals, found in tropical and 

subtropical waters in all major oceans, are scanty. The order Antipatharia is 

listed in the lUCN Invertebrate Red Data Book as Commercially Threatened and 

on Appendix II of CITES. Black corals are protected in a number of countries 

in the Caribbean but as yet few Indo-Pacific species receive protection. 

C. angulna accounts for most international trade as it is used exclusively 
for the making of bracelets which are probably the most popular and cheapest 
items in the precious coral market. It is exported to the U.S.A. in large 
quantities, mainly from Taiwan and the Philippines, but there is no 
information on collecting localities. There are no specific reports of 
depletion of C. angulna, mainly because no studies have been carried out, 
but there have been many general reports of over-collection of local 
populations of black corals in shallow waters. 

As a result of CITES reporting, the importance of C. angulna has been 
revealed and efforts should now be made to study the ecology, distribution and 
exploitation of this species in order to make recommendations for its 
sustainable use. 

Taxonomic note: Classification and identification of the ISO known species of 
black coral is complicated. The genus Antipatharia includes the true black 
corals, which form branched plant-like colonies, and the whip or wire corals 
such as C. angulna which form unbranched stick-like structures which are 
sometimes coiled. C. angulna is generally unbranched and may reach a length 
of one metre or more. Colonies are strengthened by a brown or black skeleton 
of horny material; the polyps which are situated in the living tissue around 
this skeleton are short and cylindrical with six tentacles which cannot be 
retracted. The lower end of the colony is attached to a firm substrate by a 
flattened base or may simply extend into the sediment (George and George, 
1979; Grigg, 1976; Warner, 1981). 



DISTRIBUTIOW Black coral is found in tropical and subtropical waters in all 
major oceans. The distributions of individual species are poorly known. 
C. angulna occurs from 30-500 m throughout the Indo-West Pacific (George and 
George, 1979). 

POPULATIOW Unknown . 

HABITAT AND ECOLOCJY Black corals are usually found in deep water, between 
30-110 m although some have been recorded from depths of 2000-3000 fathoms 
(4000-6000 m) . A number of species however are found in shallower water. For 
example, off Curasao, black corals are found mainly between 15 and 50 m (Noome 
and Kristensen, 1975). C. angulna also occurs at shallow depths (10-20 m) 
which accounts its widespread use in trade. It is found attached to hard 



302 



CltThlpathes angulna 

substrates such as rocks or corals and is frequently present on coral reefs. 
Work on branching black corals has shown that colonies are frequently 
associated with terraces and undercut notches. Adult colonies can withstand 
light intensities of up to 60 per cent of the surface incident light, but it 
appears that larvae cannot settle and survive under a light intensity greater 
than 25 per cent of the surface light. This would account for the greatest 
densities being found below 35 m, colonies being found at shallower depths 
only in turbid water or in shaded areas (Grigg, 1965; Grigg, 1976). The 
normal method of feeding is probably trapping of animal plankton by the 
nematocysts (Warner, 1981). Polyps are either male or female but colonies may 
be hermaphroditic (George and George, 1979). Reproductive maturity in the 
black coral Antlpathes dichotoma is probably reached between 10 and 12.:> 
years and the reproductive cycle may be annual. Asexual reproduction occurs 
naturally by fragmentation of branch ends. Colonies may have a life span of 
70 years (Grigg, 1976). Further research is required to determine to what 
extent the whip corals such as C. angulna have a similar life history. 

THREATS TO SURVIVAL Black corals have been locally depleted in many areas 
in shallow water, but deeper populations are unlikely to be exploited to 
extinction due to their inaccessibility. Caribbean species have been 
particularly heavily exploited (Castorena and Metaca, 1979; Goldberg, 1981; 
Noome and Kristensen, 1975; De la Torre, 1978; Wells et aj . , 1983). 
Extrapolating from the problems that liave arisen in the Caribbean, it is 
highly likely that local populations of C. angulna in south-east Asia are 
being depleted by the trade. Black Corals may also be affected by habitat 
disturbance, particularly species such as C. angulna which are found on 
coral reefs. 



traditional use 
black coral has 
made for export 
species level 



IKTKRWATIOWAL TRADE In the Middle and Far East black coral has long been 
accredited with medicinal and magical properties (Hickson, 1924) but such 
probably has little impact on populations. More recently, 
become a very popular material for jewellery which is either 
or sold to tourists. Identification of the raw material to 
is difficult and is almost impossible with worked or 
manufactured products; black coral, both raw and carved, is probably regularly 
shipped under the wrong name. Furthermore, synthetic 'Black Coral' is often 
sold to unsuspecting tourists (Grigg and Eade, 1981). No statistics have 
previously been available for the black coral trade but figures reported to 
CITES now give some indication of its level. However, since 1982, when 
Antipatharia were listed on CITES, only the USA has regularly reported 
C. angulna shipments to CITES (Table 1). 



Table 1. Origin countries of imports of C. angulna reported to CITES 
1981-1985 by the USA. Numbers of 'carvings' - C, and "raw corals' - R. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Philippines C 
Taiwan C 



Total 



1073 


162 


5830 


2657 


157708 


190903 


158150 


167313 
+ 52 kg 


1000 


- 


- 


2263 


158781 


191065 


163980 


169970 
+ 52 kg 



2263 



303 



Clrrhlpathes angulna 

In addition, consignments of blade coral are reported to CITES under the 
heading 'Antipatharia' and some of these, from countries in the Indo-Pacif ic , 
may include C. angulna (Table 2). The USA is the only country which has 
reported significant quantities of trade in Antipatharia, the only exceptions 
being Japan, which reported imports of 1000 leg of raw corals from Taiwan in 
1982, and Switzerland which imported 1 carving from Italy in 198S which 
reportedly originated in Taiwan. 

Table 2. Indo-Pacif ic countries of export or origin of Antipatharia carvings 
and raw corals reported to CITES, 1981-1985 by the USA. 

C = carvings, R = raw corals. 



1980 



1981 



1982 



1983 



1984 



1985 



Fiji 


C 


Hong Kong 


C 




R 


Indonesia 


R 


Kenya 


C 


Korea 


C 


Philippines 


C 




R 


Taiwan 


C 




R 


Tonga 


C 


Total 


C 




R 



- 


3 


- 


- 


12 


- 


7346 


1350 


- 


- 


_ 


492 


'- 


- 


- 


- 


- 


24 


- 


- 


- 


- 


127 


- 


_ 


- 


2500 


_ 


13 


- 


6869 


4726 


198 


619 


7437 


117 


190 


- 


- 


_ 


5242 


169586 


134394 


24156 


147576 


- 


9657 


3042 


- 


- 


- 


- 


- 


576 


93 


12111 


184161 


136069 


25364 


155118 


117 


10339 


3066 


_ 


_ 



According to CITES statistics, the USA is a major importer of carved 
C. angulna from Taiwan and the Philippines. Unfortunately there is no 
information on the operation of the trade in the countries of origin. 
Japanese and Taiwanese fishing boats were reported to be taking black coral 
from Papau New Guinean waters in the early 1980s and it is known that 
C. angulna occurs here. A local fishery provides corals to the main 
jewellery firm in the country and coral products are exported mainly to 
Australia (Wells, 1982). Black Coral is also harvested commercially in Hawaii 
(Grigg, 1976) and small quantities are collected on Guam (Hedlund, 1977) but 
these do not include C. angulna. In 1982 the Black Coral harvest in Hawaii 
was about 50 per cent lower than in previous years on account of a depressed 
market and past stockpiling. Current levels are significantly below the 
estimates of a maximum sustainable yield, and in this area at least there Is 
no danger of over-collection (Grigg, In lltt. S.8.82). 

COMSKRYATION MEASURES No countries specifically protect C. angulna. The 
entire order Antipatharia is listed on Appendix II of CITES and is included in 
the lUCN Invertebrate Red Data Book under the category Commercially Threatened 
(Taxa not currently threatened with extinction but most or all of whose 
populations are threatened as a sustainable commercial resource, or will 
become so unless their exploitation in regulated) . The order Antipatharia is 
listed under the Netherlands legislation for protected non-native species 
(Anon, 1980) and black coral is protected in New Zealand (Richardson, 1981). 



304 



Clrrhlpathes angulna 

In Hawaii permits are issued for limited conmercial harvesting and there is a 
minimum size limit of 1.2 m in height and/or 2.5 cm in stem diameter (Grigg, 
1976). Caribbean species of blade coral receive varying degrees of protection 
in Antigua, Barbados, Belize, the British Virgin Islands, Florida (USA), 
Jamaica, Mexico, Netherlands Antilles, Trinidad and Tobago, U.S. Virgin 
Islands (Wells et ai . , 1983). 

A number of management studies have been or are being carried out on black 
corals but these usually concern the branching Antlpathes species. For 
example, in Hawaii, an optimum annual sustainable yield of 5000 leg has been 
estimated for the stock of 84 000 colonies in the Auau Channel (Grigg, 1976). 
Management studies have been carried out in Papua New Guinea (Tarr, 1978), 
Guam (Hedlund, 1977), the Galapagos (Robinson, 1982) and Mexico (Castorent, 
1979) and projects are underway in Tonga (Anon., 1985) and New Zealand 
(Grange, 1985). 

There is an urgent need for study and monitoring of the black coral trade. As 
a result of CITES reporting, the importance of C .. angulna has been revealed 
and efforts should now be made to study the ecology, distribution and 
exploitation of this species in order to make recommendations for its 
sustainable use. A number of studies have been carried out on branching black 
corals which provide models for the investigation and management of the 
Clrrhlpathes fisheries. Since C. angulna appears to be of particular 
importance in the trade and may prove to be as vulnerable to intensive 
collection as the branching black corals, the need for appropriate information 
is considered a high priority. The potential for planting cuttings of 
C. angulna has been investigated in Papua New Guinea but no results have 
been published (Wells, 1982). This is an area of research which would be of 
particular interest to the trade. 

EtKPKRKWCES 

Anon. (1985). Sustainable black coral harvesting potential in Tonga. Paper 

presented at 3rd South Pacific National Parks and Reserves Conference and 

Ministerial Meeting 24 June - 3 July, Apia, Western Samoa, Ministry of 

Lands, Survey and Natural Resources. 
Castorena, V. (1979). Coral Negro - una possible estrategia. Tecnlca 

Pesquera: 20-21. 
Castorena, V. and Hetaca, M. (1979). El Coral Negro, una riqueza en peligro. 

Tecnlca Pesguera: 22-27. 
De la Torre, A.R. (1978). Coral negro: Un recurso o una especie en peligro. 

In Hignian, J.B. (Ed.), Proc . Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries 

Institute 31: 158-163. 
George, J.D. and George, J.J. (1979). Marine Life. Harrap and Co., London. 
Goldberg, W. (1981). Caribbean Black Coral Survey. Unpublished report. 

(information supplied by I. Kristensen, J. Woodley, Dr. Sander, R.L. 

Colman) . 
Grange, K.R. (1985). Distribution, standing crop, population structure and 

growth rates of an unexploited resource of black coral in the southern 

fjords of New Zealand. Proc. Sth Int. Coral Reef Congress, Tahiti, Vol. 

6: 217-221. 
Grigg, R.W. (1965). Ecological studies of black coral in Hawaii. Paclf. 

Scl. 19: 244-260. 
Grigg, R.W. (1976). Fishery Management of Precious and Stony Corals In 

Hawaii. Sea Grant Technical Report UNIHI-SEAGRANT-TR-77-03. University 

of Hawaii. 



305 



Clrrhlpathes angulna 

Grigg, R. and Eade, J.V. (1981). Precious corals. In Report on the Inshore 

and Neazshore Resources Training Workshop, Suva, Fiji. 13-17 July 1981, 

CCOP/SOPAC. 
Hedlund, S.E. (1977). The extent of coral, shell and algal harvesting in Guam 

waters. Sea Grant Publication UGSG-77-10. 
Hickson, S.J. (1924). An Introduction to the Study of Recent Corals. 

University Press, Manchester. 
Noome, C. and Kristensen, I. (1975). Necessity of conservation of slow 

growing organisms like Black Coral. Stlnappa II: 76-77 CCA. Ecology 

Conference, Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles National Parks Foundation. 
Tarr, E.G. (1978). Semi-precious corals in Papua New Guinea. Resources 

Information Paper No.l., Fisheries Research Division, Papua New Guinea. 
Warner, G.F. (1981). Species descriptions and ecological observations of 

black corals (Antipatharia) from Trinidad. Bulletin of Marine Science 

31(1): 147-163. 
Wells, S.M. (1982). Marine Conservation in the Philippines and Papua New 

Guinea with special emphasis on the ornamental coral and shell trade. 

Report to Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. 
Wells, S.M., Pyle, R.M. and Collins, N.M. (1983). lUCN Invertebrate Red Data 

Book. lUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre, Cambridge. 



306 



I-- 







■3 I 



i ■, < 

















•'l' f 



v*^^' 

'V^:^ 






'•-.i',v: 



. V -' 



•, .' .* . t*v V^ -t 4 ^v^, 









J ■ 















IS?*' 



*■■-".'.■ t ' 









■^^